Through two tournaments this golf season, the Shepherd Rams have been slightly less than stellar. A poor showing at the Hal Hansen Invitational and an average finish during the Glade Springs Intercollegiate Championship had cast a fair amount of doubt over the programs ability to perform for the duration of the entire season.
Those worries have been assuaged for now. During the Northern Mountain East Conference Northern Regional at Moundsville Country Club in Moundsville, W.Va., Shepherd eased to a comfortable second place finish. The University of Charleston came away as the victors, posting an impressive two-day score of 581. Shepherd finished eight strokes behind the winners and finished seven strokes ahead of the Fighting Falcons of Fairmont state, which finished the tournament with a total of 596. This has to be considered a massive improvement for the Rams, as their pedestrian finished to this point offered little hope for progress.
Standouts for the Rams included Williamsport, Md. native Zach Weber, who posted a two-day total of 142. Robert Fleming of Charles Town, W.Va. finished with a score very close to that of teammate Weber, signing his scorecard for a two-day total of 145. Weber and Fleming really paced the Rams for the tournament, finishing second and fifth in individual play, respectively.
However, Weber and Fleming weren’t the only Rams who had solid outings on the links. Freshman Germantown, Md. resident Joe Burkinshaw finished a very respectable eighth overall in individual play, posting a 147 over the two-day tournament. Chris Ferrell finished fourth out of fifth for the Rams, posting a total of 155. Ferrell’s efforts saw him finish tied for 26th. Senior leader Bryan Milburn rounded out the Rams’ efforts. The Ranson, W.Va. native finished, tied for 35th, posting a two-day total of 158.
The effort the Rams put forth during the MEC Northern Regional shows that they are not willing to lie down. “I was proud of the effort they showed. We needed a showing like that,” Coach Keith Radar said. No one would have expected this kind of showing from the team, considering the way they began the campaign. “It was unexpected, but I knew we had it in us,” junior Tim Wilson said. “We just have to use this as momentum going into the conference championships.”
As the Binghamton, N.Y. native alluded to, the Rams have the Mountain East Conference Championships next up on the ledger. The tournament will be played in Moundsville, Ohio. Hopefully the long trip from Shepherdstown won’t inhibit the team’s ability to perform. The tournament begins Oct. 12 and will finish up two days later on Oct. 14. Another improvement in their finish would see the Rams gaining tons of respect in their new conference. No team will sneeze at the squad that wins the conference championship.