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CCC girls look to finish dream season on a high

By RODNEY PAGE

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000


Before heading to Vero Beach for Tuesday's opening round of the Class A state tournament, Clearwater Central Catholic girls coach Tony Pasquine stopped at the nearby office supply store.

Pasquine wanted his team to be ready for its second consecutive trip to state, so he loaded up on pocket-sized spiral notebooks.

This may be a golf tournament and a chance to skip classes for three days, but Pasquine still wanted his players to study. During Monday's practice round at the Sandridge Golf Course, he wanted them to roll balls on the green from different angles and observe the way they broke.

"I want them to treat the green like a clock face," Pasquine said. "Roll the ball at three o'clock, six o'clock, nine o'clock and 12 o'clock and see how they break. Then write it down in the notebook. That's how you can save some strokes."

Saving strokes is what it's all about. CCC, which swept through the regular season 30-1 and lost only to powerhouse Saddlebrook, won the regional tournament Monday by 70 strokes over Berkeley Prep.

Led by junior Ashley Lamoureux, the Marauders have had their best season ever. Lamoureux consistently shoots in the 70s and is making her third consecutive trip to state. She qualified as an individual as a freshman.

"I'm playing pretty well right now," Lamoureux said. "I making some putts, striking the ball well. Hopefully, that will continue. The whole team is excited about going back. I think we can do well."

Jessica Hallgren, Lara Smilnak, Melissa Herndon and Maggie Herndon have been the nucleus for CCC. All four can shoot in the 80s, and if they can do that this week, CCC could have a top-five finish.

That would be like a state championship to Pasquine.

"Our strength all season is having five girls that are all capable of shooting good scores," Pasquine said. "But look, we know we can't compete with the Saddlebrooks, the Lake Highland Preps, the St. Stephens and the Bradenton Academys. Those are golf schools. But if we can finish in the top five, that would be like winning our own little state championship."

In the Class 2A boys tournament, Countryside and Palm Harbor University are eyeing an even bigger goal. The Cougars seem to always make it into the state tournament, and this could be their best team.

Seniors Jimmy Fitzpatrick, David Cosper and Nick Bellamy are tournament-tested and can shoot low numbers any time. Add sophomore Chris Ford and freshman Matt Issel, and Countryside has a chance against any team.

But then consider PHU. It put it all together in the regional and beat Countryside by six strokes. Jason Overton, James Boothe, Jason Elliot, Tim Sullivan and Tyler Clippard are playing well. "They have an intensity," Hurricanes coach Ken Clawson said.

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