ARMOLD: York Tech's partnership with Country Day produces winning golf formula
It's rare to find a team that you can consider a "surprise" this early in the York-Adams fall sports season.
But having glanced at the Division III golf results so far, there's one team that stands out.
Since the program's inception in 2009, the York Tech Spartans have spent much of their time tending to the basement of the division. But this season, Tech has been surprisingly solid, finishing second in every division event contested.
That's not meant to be a knock against the Spartans. The school certainly has enough working against it before it even takes the field in any sport. Tech's vocational nature means students often devote a fair amount of what would be their extracurricular time to their course of study. Athletics are sometimes an after thought.
Also, many students don't begin attending York Tech until their junior years, making it difficult to get the necessary numbers to fill out a roster.
Plus, golf isn't considered one of the "main" sports — the ones that draw loads of fans or garner the bulk of the attention. Even some larger, "traditional" schools have a hard time getting the numbers to field a full, competitive roster.
And golf is often considered a country club sport, while Tech is sometimes considered a blue-collar school.
So, when you're dealt a bit of good fortune, as the Spartans have this season, it makes it all the more important to take advantage.
The gift for Coach Mike Kessler has been Tech's partnership with York Country Day.
While Country Day doesn't field a team of its own, its students are permitted to participate for Tech.
This arrangement has not only provided Kessler with the numbers needed to field a team, but also the experience and talent to compete.
"We got four kids from Country Day," Kessler said. "They have been around golf all their lives and they are now starting to perform."
That group includes Hugh McMurray, Abe Miller and brothers Nick and Alex May.
After finishing last in the division every season until 2014, this bunch has helped the Spartans steadily climb the division's ranks.
Last season, the Spartans were able to muster a 14-16-0 record, good enough for a fourth-place finish. In the five seasons prior, Tech compiled a combined record of 4-182-0.
Kessler cites McMurray as the team's No. 1 and the junior has produced a pair of top-10 finishes in the division so far in 2015.
"He's been with me now for three years," Kessler said of McMurray. "He has leadership qualities, so I put him at No. 1. But the others, I just mix them up and let them get their feet wet."
The May brothers have been just as solid. Alex has a trio of top 10s under his belt, and Nick has finished in that group twice. Miller also has a pair of top 10s to his credit.
So far this season, with Wednesday's second-place finish at Flatbush, the Spartans are second in the division at 16-4-0. York Catholic continues to dominate the division at 20-0-0.
While the Spartans aren't expected to catch the Irish, or compete for the county crown, it's still nice to see this particular name high up in the standings.
Wednesday's result: York Catholic's Andrew Forjan carded a 72 Wednesday to take medalist honors at the Division III match at Flatbush. Delone Catholic's Jake Mueller was runner-up, one stroke back.
Forjan's round helped the Irish take the team title with a score of 323. Second-place Tech (341) was paced by an 80 from Alex May, who finished third. York Catholic's Jon Giambalvo's 81 placed him fourth and the Spartans' Abe Miller rounded out the top five with his 83. The Squires finished third as a team with a 352.
— Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com; @EADispatch on Twitter