KEYSER - After two days of play under less than ideal golfing conditions, the Keyser Golden Tornado 1992 golf team did something that had not been done in two decades, and that's bring a AAA state championship in any sport back to Keyser.
By Chapin Jewell
KEYSER - After two days of play under less than ideal golfing conditions, the Keyser Golden Tornado 1992 golf team did something that had not been done in two decades, and that’s bring a AAA state championship in any sport back to Keyser.
On the days of Monday, Oct. 19, and Tuesday, Oct. 20, 1992, Keyser’s golfers battled both the elements and their competition in earning the top AAA prize. In what was described as blustery conditions in which the temperature reached only the upper 30s, the Black and Gold shot a two-day total of 666 strokes to best second place finisher Greenbrier East by 27 strokes (693), and third place finisher and defending state champion Huntington East by 34 strokes (700).
According to the late Mineral News-Tribune sports editor Scott Allen in the state championship story from Oct. 21, 1992, “They did it with senior leadership and the combined experience of more than 15 years of letterman play.” All five of Keyser’s golfers, Corey Glass, Brian Kiser, Brian Cather, Matt Everline and Nathan Fisher, were three-year lettermen, with Glass having earned four varsity letters.
“We set this in our sights two years ago as a realistic goal,” Keyser golf coach Penny Glass stated in the News-Tribune in 1992. “The kids were able to stay focused and play their golf games, in spite of the bad weather and the pressure of a state level event. They all handled the pressure very well.”
The state championship victory capped off a remarkable season for the Golden Tornado golfers. Keyser finished the regular season with an impressive record of 25-2, and after regional tournament play, entered the state tournament with a record of 52-8. At the conclusion of state tournament play, Keyser finished their state championship season with a most impressive overall record, including tournament play, of 67-8.
According to Glass in the state championship write-up in 1992, “These kids more than demonstrated that they are some of the best golfers in the state. They overcame a lot of adversity with the weather and the pressure of a state tournament and played like the champions they are.”
“I told the guys going into the tournament that all we had to do was to stay close to our team average of 326 and we did it,” Glass explained.
On day one of the state tournament, the Golden Tornado shot a 337 in the inclement weather, nine strokes better than defending state champion Huntington East (346); Greenbrier East finished day one in third place and 12 strokes behind (349); John Marshall, playing on it’s home course, was in fourth place, 20 strokes behind the leader Keyser with a 357.
Keyser’s Matt Everline led the Black and Gold on day one by shooting an 81; Everline finished fourth on the day overall. Keyser’s second-highest score on day one came from Corey Glass with an 82. Glass had been red hot before finishing the final two holes with some troubles, settling for a triple bogey on number 17 and with a bogey on 18. The two Brians, Kiser and Cather, finished tied for third for Keyser, both shooting an 87. Nathan Fisher finished fifth among the Keyser golfers with a 90.
If Corey Glass started day one on fire and then watched his game cool down on the final two holes, on day two, he remained consistently red hot throughout all 18 holes. Glass snapped back from
an 82 on Monday to shoot a tournament-low, one-over-par 71 on Tuesday.
Matt Everline and Brian Cather each finished tied for third on the team in game two with scores of 89 strokes apiece. Matt Fisher finished in fifth place on the day for Keyser, with a score of 90 for the second consecutive day. Only the top four scores were used in the competitive compilations.
While Keyser won the team competition finishing first in all of class AAA, there was individual success for the Golden Tornado golfers as well. Corey Glass finished in second place overall individually, finishing the tournament with a two-day tally of 153, just two strokes behind first-place finisher Chris Boyd of Jefferson (151). Matt Everline’s two-day tally of 170 was good enough for a tie for 10th place overall; Brian Cather’s two-day total of 176 garnered him a tie for 15th place overall.
Keyser’s road to the state tournament and ultimately to their state championship tournament victory, faced its stiffest challenge in regional tournament play. Prior to the 1992 season, Jefferson High School’s Cougar golfers had won the regional competition and advanced to state tournament play in 14 consecutive seasons.
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 1992, at Cacapon State Park near Berkeley Springs, Keyser finally dethroned Jefferson, finishing in first place with a regional tournament score of 333, a full five strokes better than Jefferson and Martinsburg, who finished tied for second place in the region with scores of 338 apiece. Hedgesville finished in far distant fourth place with a score of 414.
At the time, Jefferson coach Dale Shaffer compared the regional tournament to the state tournament, acknowledging that three of the strongest teams in the state at the time came out of the Eastern Panhandle (Keyser, Jefferson, Martinsburg).
Speaking after that regional tournament win, Keyser coach Penny Glass stated, “To see the guys reach this goal after all the hard work and effort they’ve put forth is extremely rewarding. Within an hour of achieving their previous goal (regional championship), they set a new one and we still have five days to focus on it.”
Keyser indeed focused in that five-day period, as one week later, the Golden Tornado built upon their regional championship, more specifically the dethroning of traditional power Jefferson, by claiming an even bigger prize, the ultimate prize, in fact, by winning the state championship.
Keyser’s state championship golfers were treated by the school and the community as heroes, and rightly so, after winning the last AAA state championship in Keyser history.
According to Matt Everline, “There was a parade that was held in our honor of Main Street. They let school out to attend and we were escorted by police and fire trucks. We were also inducted into the Keyser High School Hall of Fame.”
It may have happened some 28 years ago, but the 1992 AAA golf state championship earned by the Keyser Golden Tornado is remembered to this day as a tremendous accomplishment.