March 12, 2021
The Cape Henlopen High School Viking golf team is busy working on conditioning, tee shots, chipping, putting, and other challenges in preparation for the 2021 season.
Last year’s schedule prematurely ended March 13 when a “temporary” pandemic-related school closure went far past the initial rosy estimates to force a total wipeout of all spring scholastic sports.
This year’s Vikings hope to remain among the downstate public schools to qualify for the state high school golf championships, after T-9, 7th, and 9th place finishes in 2017-2019.
Head coach Robert Harrod said, “I’m looking forward to a great year with this group of golfers. The freshman and sophomores my first year are now juniors and a senior and it’s exciting to see them improve. We had some very positive additions to the team and that’s just another thing that excites me about this year!”
Several returning players should contribute, including senior Quinn McCullough, juniors Thomas Burn, Seth Reynolds, and Flynn Kalb, and sophomore Christopher Williams.
A promising group of new players joined the veterans and successfully completed the week-long tryout sessions March 9 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, including senior Forest Dotterer, junior Dylan Steinwedel, sophomore Ethan Mercer, and freshman Dylan Baker. Mercer transferred from perennial downstate powerhouse Caesar Rodney High after a Covid-caused short stint as a freshman for the Riders in 2020.
Assistant coaches Bill Geppert and Mike McGinley returned to help Harrod with the new squad, along with volunteer coach Reed Jones, a 2019 Cape grad and former Viking golfer, and yours truly.
Geppert just completed another successful season as Cape’s swim coach and plans to incorporate structured practice sessions for the golf team as he has for swimming. “I am excited for this team,” he said. “I feel that they are capable of achieving great things if they continue to work hard and improve their game. It is all up to them.”
McGinley’s first foray into coaching the team last year suffered from the same short circuit. He hopes for a full season this time, along with the rest of us.
The recently completed renovation of the practice facility at the team’s host course, Rehoboth Beach Country Club, should help the young golfers improve as the season progresses.
The Vikings’ host Smyrna High in the first match, scheduled for March 22. There are fewer matches this spring, because Laurel High and Seaford High are not participating.
Fundraiser May 3 at RBCC supports First Tee of Delaware’s southern campaign
Last year’s Cape Region charity golf fundraiser season took a major hit from the pandemic, with nearly all of the events cancelled or postponed. When several dozen such events failed to take place, deserving local services and programs suffered significant revenue losses.
I am therefore extremely pleased to announce a return to how things should be with one of the first major charity tournaments for this year, the 2021 Delmarva Scramble Golf Outing & Fundraiser, set for May 3 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.
The First Tee of Delaware is part of a national effort to use golf as a critical pathway for life skills and character development. The program has enjoyed significant success in Delaware, especially in upstate New Castle County.
Proceeds from the new Delmarva Scramble will support expanded First Tee programming in southern Delaware and Worcester County, MD.
Robert Norris, Executive Director of the First Tee of Delaware, highlighted elements of the organization’s mission statement: “We exist to enable kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By integrating the game of golf with life skills curriculum and core values, we create safe learning experiences.”
Current planning for Cape Region summer programs includes 4- to 5-week sessions, golf clinics, and family fun days at five courses – Bear Trap Dunes, Mulligan’s Pointe, American Classic, Rehoboth Beach Country Club, and The Rookery.
The Scramble’s $165 individual entry fee includes green fees, cart, lunch, on-course refreshments, gift, contest prizes, and happy hour. Foursome packages are available, as are several sponsorship opportunities running from $100 to $5,000.
For more information, go to FTDMS21.givesmart.com.
I also met recently with Rich Kapolka, a First Tee board member and the new chair of the SoDel Committee. Kapolka described several successful downstate initiatives, including a golf club Rescue and Recycle program. Sales of reconditioned donated equipment raise funds for First Tee, while other restored clubs are made available to students who want to play golf but need an equipment boost to make that happen.
First Tee programs rely on volunteer golf coaches who must complete a training cycle focused primarily on life skills and healthy habits elements. The national First Tee pays for the necessary criminal background check expenses.
Interested Cape Region coach volunteers should contact First Tee at charmatftde@ gmail.com or bobnorristftde @gmail.com for potential enrollment in the next training session, set for April 5.