St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

New training method gives Wildcats big lift

Wharton took to the track to increase its stamina and lower its scores.

By FRANK PASTOR

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


TAMPA -- As he analyzed the scores from last month's three-stroke loss to Chamberlain, Wharton boys golf coach Lee Gonzales noticed a pattern.

His players started strong only to lose focus and concentration on the final three holes.

But Gonzales did not send his players to the practice range or putting green to work on their games.

He directed them to the high school track.

"I thought the problem was conditioning," Gonzales said. "So I got them running."

Gonzales added 1- to 11/2-mile runs to his team's practice schedule. In time, carrying a 60-pound bag for nine holes in the heat of the day did not sap so much of his players' stamina.

Wharton (11-3) won six of its next seven matches, falling only to Berkeley Prep by a stroke. The Wildcats take that momentum into Monday's Class 2A, District 8 tournament. Play in the 16-team, 18-hole tournament begins at 7:45 a.m. at Carrollwood Village Golf & Tennis Club.

The top four teams and top four individuals not on those teams advance to the regional tournament Oct. 30 at Cleveland Heights Golf and Country Club.

From there, the top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams go to the state tournament the following week in Vero Beach.

Wharton, which lost only Eddie Pearce Jr. from last season's district championship squad, has a good chance to repeat.

King, Gaither and River Ridge also should contend for the team title.

Wharton's Brian Wertz finished second to Pearce at last year's district tournament. Wertz, teammates Mike Giammaresi and Joey Slater and Gaither's T.C. Siebert are among the players expected to battle for medalist honors.

Gonzales is not surprised.

"I fully expected us to have another chance to be the district champion," the coach said. "And with the new region (tournament), I thought we'd have a better than even chance to be one of the two teams that went on to states."

Wharton's success the past two years disguises the fact that the school is in just its fourth year of existence. After a competitive first year, the Wildcats won the Western Conference Championship in 1998.

Wharton hit its stride last year, winning the district championship and placing ninth in the state. The team was the first in school history to make a state tournament.

"We've been getting better every year," said Slater, a senior. "The first year, we were playing what we'd consider bad now, but we kept getting better."

The program came so far in the past year that two members of the district championship team did not even make this year's squad.

Freshmen David Tiffenberg and Matt Johnson outshot two upperclassmen in a qualifier to earn spots on the team. Tiffenberg became the team's No. 5 golfer, with a nine-hole scoring average of 40. Johnson's average of 45 is 10th on the team.

"That was why I had great visions for this year," Gonzales said.

Except for a surprising road loss to Gaither, the team has met its coach's expectations.

Playing without Giammaresi and Tiffenberg, Wharton stumbled to a one-stroke loss last month to a Gaither team it handled easily a year ago.

Wharton quickly bounced back, shooting a season-best 141 in a victory over previously unbeaten Zephyrhills. The win set the tone for the remainder of the season.

"We knew that was going to be one of the best teams we'd face this year," Tiffenberg said. "We thought if we could start off well against them, it would give us confidence that we could carry into our other matches."

Wharton further added to its confidence by beating Jesuit by three strokes while losing to Berkeley Prep by just one in a tri-match Oct. 4.

Two weeks ago, the Wildcats defeated Plant City, which entered the match 13-0.

With players such as Austin Sherman and Giammaresi driving the ball 265 to 275 yards, Wharton is strong off the tee.

But Gonzales said a different facet of the game will determine how the Wildcats fare at the district tournament.

"When they're playing well, it's just like the PGA Tour," Gonzales said. "Putting."

Stamina has been addressed.

Wharton boys scoring averages

1. Joey Slater, Sr., 38.2

2. Brian Wertz, Jr., 38.5

3. Kevin Oliver, Sr., 39.4

4. Mike Giammaresi, So., 39.8

5. David Tiffenberg, Fr., 40

6. Eric Schmuki,Jr., 41

7. Austin Sherman, Jr., 41.8

8. David Christie, Sr., 42

9. Alex Rangel, Jr., 43

10. Matt Johnson, Fr., 45

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Hubert Mizell

  • Couples is content, but fire still burns
  • Gary Shelton

  • Bombers aging, but know how to win
  • World Series

  • Yanks last longer
  • Paths cross again
  • Ridin' (yawn) rails to Subway Series
  • What they're saying
  • Hampton says he's rested, ready
  • Slices of the big apple
  • Red Sox fan Mara is bummed
  • World Series glance
  • Cards, M's rue missed chances
  • Lightning

  • Lightning falls again, only harder
  • College football

  • UM, Moss trample Temple
  • Seminoles put foot down
  • Bulls extinguish Flames
  • College football this week on TV
  • College football briefs
  • FSU sideliners
  • Minor keeps up run of success vs. Cavs
  • Career day comes at a price
  • Sipp's starts streak in jeopardy
  • USF sideliners
  • Two Bulls receivers catch on in a hurry
  • Bucs

  • Bucs must remember their essence
  • NBA briefs
  • Speaking of memories
  • Nothing but child's play for Quezie
  • Bucs chat
  • The sun is shining on Wunsch
  • NFL briefs
  • Best and worst: game 7
  • NFL games
  • NFL briefs
  • Golf

  • Pressure building at Innisbrook
  • Cook: Keep hot new drivers out of the game
  • How suite it is for some fans
  • Sports Etc.

  • NHL briefs
  • Star Ethiopian runner out to conquer Chicago
  • Mizell's mailbag
  • Husband-and-wife team wins regatta
  • U.S. wins big at Paralympics
  • Boxing briefs
  • Another triumph for the big spenders
  • Slap shots
  • Roy at top of his game, but will Avs keep him?
  • Gordon: Leader has it together
  • Auto racing briefs
  • Structure is the keyto uncovering fish
  • Captain's corner
  • New training method gives Wildcats big lift
  • Victories don't come as easy now
  • Carr makes history with victory
  • Spartans have few problems in dominating Florida Tech
  • Buc wins Rotary diving title
  • Coaches, players praise new post-season format
  • Northeast crushes competition
  • Warhawk boys pull off upset
  • Countryside wakes up, cruises to PCAC title


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts