Keyser golfers claim regional championship, state tournament bid

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Bookended by coaches Josh Blowe and Bill Ack, Keyser golfers Evan Ack, Dylan Wilson, Noah Broadwater, and Drew Matlick celebrate winning the regional championship, and earning a trip to the state tournament for two years running.

As the famous athlete and gaffe artist Yogi Berra is quoted as saying, “It’s like déjà vu, all over again. A year ago, the Keyser High School golf team won the regional championship and qualified for a trip to the state tournament in Wheeling. On Monday, Keyser again laid claim to the regional championship and advances to state tournament play next week.  

“It’s a great feeling. We have a great team that played really well yesterday. Drew Matlick played his personal best in a high school match and was the low medalist of the day by four strokes with a 78. Noah Broadwater didn’t feel like he played his best, but he shot a really nice score, 83. Dylan Wilson shot his 18-hole best, an 89, which was really key in allowing us to win the championship. Evan Ack battled hard, he’s looking to improve for the state tournament,” Keyser coach Josh Blowe stated. 

As a team, Keyser finished in first play with a team score of 250, six shots better than the second place finisher and other state qualifier North Marion (256). Fairmont Senior finished in third place (264), Grafton in fourth place (277), Frankfort and East Fairmont shot a 282 and tied for fifth place. Berkeley Springs, Oak Glen, and Weir finished in seventh, eighth, and nineth place respectively, each with scores above 300. 

“We figured we had about an 80 percent chance of finishing in the top two and advancing to the state tournament based off our scores, but North Marion, this is actually the first time we beat them all year. This is the fifth time we played them this year and they beat us the previous four times. Going into it, North Marion was the favorite, and we thought it might come down to us and Fairmont Senior for that second spot,” Blowe explained. 

Last year, Keyser accomplished the regional championship with a foursome that consisted of two seniors and two freshmen. Lost to graduation were seniors Jacob Malcolm and Darrick Broadwater. This year, the Golden Tornado foursome consisted of one senior, two sophomores, and one freshman. 

Blowe was asked how things are the same and how things are different from last year. 

“It’s the same in that we’re regional champions again. I thought last year, based off of scores, we were a good bit better last year as a team. But actually yesterday, at this year’s regional tournament, we shot better than we did last year, so I thought that was really impressive,” Blowe stated. 

According to Blowe, “All year long we’ve actually been about 10 strokes behind last year’s pace in nine-hole matches. Then at regionals this year, we actually shot about five strokes better than we did last year. I was really impressed to see that team scoring, with the top three all scoring 89 or below. Drew even scoring down in the 70’s was very, very key.” 

The chatter is that this is only the second time that Keyser has qualified for the state tournament in back to back seasons. Josh Blowe and his assistant coach Bill Ack have the Golden Tornado golf program certainly heading in the right direction, though Blowe refuses to take any credit. 

“It has nothing to do with me doing anything, we have really good golfers. We have a great group of young men that work hard every day. I’ve never been around kids who, when they have a bad day on the course, rain or shine, they put in extra work on their own, that’s extra special, Blowe explained. 

Blowe points to the senior leadership of Dylan Wilson, and to his improved play, as just one of the reasons for Keyser’s success. 

“Dylan Wilson is our only senior and he works so hard, he’s our most improved golfer by far. For him to work as hard as he did in the off-season and to get better and become our number three player this year, says so much. Actually, he finished in the number one spot a couple times for us this year. He’s been outstanding. Hard work is where it starts,” Blowe explained. 

While Wilson is playing in his senior season, Drew Matlick and Noah Broadwater still have two years remaining, and Evan Ack three years. The present and future of Keyser High School golf is bright. 

“I just want to thank the team, it was a great team win yesterday. The whole program, it’s a great team atmosphere and family atmosphere.”