In what was supposed to be a rebuilding season, the Potomac School Panthers nearly won a third straight league golf championship.
With no returning top players from last fall’s high-school squad, the Panthers still finished second in this season’s 18-hole Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, played on the par-70 Falls Road Golf Course in Maryland in windy conditions.
Potomac School’s team score was 331. The Maret Frogs won with 322.
Even with the inexperienced team, the Panthers were confident they could add a third straight crown, but they didn’t play their best during the Oct. 17 tourney, according to head coach Mike Hutton.
“We thought the magic-number score we needed to win was 320, and we felt like we could reach that,” Hutton said. “But it was just not our normal best day of golf. The wind was a factor, but that was the case for everyone.”
The Panthers were led individually in the tournament by Michael Fairbank. The freshman made three birdies to shoot 75 and finish in a three-way tie for first place. Coincidently, Fairbank’s older brother, Brian, also won the individual MAC title for Potomac School 20 years earlier in 2002 in the team’s initial season.
Potomac School senior Sam Cristinzio had the Panthers’ next lowest score at 84 on Oct. 17, to tie for eighth. Tying for 10th with an 85 was senior Charlie Djorup, with fellow classmate Jeffrey Nuechterlein shooting 87 to tie for 12th. Potomac School freshman Jack Smith carded an 88 (tie for 14th) and junior Jackson Wiley was 17th with an 89.
By finishing in the top 10, Fairbank, Cristinzio and Djorup made the All-MAC team.
Fairbank will move on to participate in a four-player individual tournament-of-champions event at Kenwood Country Club in Bethesda.
As a team, the season is over for Potomac School. The Panthers compiled a 7-1 regular-season record against MAC rivals, including a 1-1 mark against Maret.
“Our players really worked hard on their games this past offseason, and that was the reason for the quick turnaround,” Hutton said. “To start from scratch this season like we did with no returning players and to still be very competitive is pleasing.”
The Flint Hill Huskies shot 376 to finish sixth in the MAC tournament. Sofia Dechant had the team’s lowest score with an 87 to tie for 12th, Sophia Bulliard shot 91 and Trevor Hu 97.