KCHS brings back golf program

CAMBRIDGE — Landon Wallace, Jack Walters, Logan Dean and Vic Vujanic were seventh graders the last time KCHS fielded a golf team.

Now high school seniors, they’re helping to relaunch a program that as recently as 2015 produced a two-time Mid-Shore Golfer of the Year in James Ciganek.

Kent County High School folded its golf program in September 2018 — after just the second match — because it was unable to field a full team. You have to have four players to score as a team, and KCHS had just one.

Now there are eight players: the four seniors listed above, juniors Ethan Clark, Jack Fry and Robert Hague, and freshman Tucker Ervin.

The Trojans already have had one match, pulling back the curtain on the 2023 season Monday, Aug. 28 at River Marsh Golf Course at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge.

Wallace had the best score for the locals, carding a 56 on the front nine.

Walters and Dean both shot 63, and Vujanic was one stroke behind them.

Routinely, schools send out five golfers and discard the highest score. On this day, Ervin was the Trojans’ fifth man.

It rained during the match, which added to the challenges for all five Trojans who were making their high school golf debut, according to first-year head coach Jonathan Fitch.

Nate Smith, the reigning district champion, was the medalist with a 36 for runner-up Queen Anne’s

In scoring among the nine schools, Kent Island came out on top.

This is what Fitch said about the Trojans’ performance: “We ended up finishing last but all of the other teams have been together longer and this was the first real meet for a lot of our athletes. We were 15 or 20 strokes from the next team. Definitely a margin I feel we can make up with more experience.”

Fitch, who teaches physical education and Foundations of Technology, said he’s excited about bringing golf back to KCHS.

The best part about the restart, according to Fitch, is that it’s student led.

Wallace and Walters, who played soccer last year along with Clark, “reached out to me. They wanted to have a (golf) team,” Fitch said.

Chester River Yacht & Country Club, Chestertown, is the Trojans’ home course and where they practice, usually twice a week.

While a Memorandum of Understanding was being drafted between CRY&CC and the school system, Kent’s golfers practiced for the first two weeks on the Worton campus. Their first day on the course was Aug. 25, where they got in five holes, though they did have a session on the driving range on Aug. 23.

KCHS has one home match: Thursday, Sept. 21 as host to Kent Island, Queen Anne’s, Easton, St. Michaels, North Caroline, Colonel Richardson, Cambridge-South Dorchester and North Dorchester high schools.

The other regular-season venues are Hog Neck in Easton, Queenstown Golf Links and the Hyatt’s River Marsh course.

Fitch is in his second year of teaching at KCHS.

Previously, he taught physical education at elementary schools in Middletown, Delaware.

Fitch lettered in golf in high school in Delaware where golf is a spring sport. “I just recently picked up my clubs again when I had this opportunity to coach,” he said.

He also wrestled and ran cross country.

Fitch and his wife and their six daughters have a small farm in the Worton area, Blessings Homestead, where they “raise ADGA registered Nigerian dwarf goats and keep a variety of free-range chickens, a few ducks and turkeys, as well as a race horse rescue and a very spoiled potbellied pig,” according to its website.

KCHS grad Kolyn Kirby, who is an instructional assistant in technology at his alma mater, is the assistant golf coach. A triple threat in football, indoor track and lacrosse, Kirby was the outstanding male athlete in the Class of 2004 and the school’s Bayside Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year.

KCHS introduced golf as a varsity sport in 1996. Scott Stokes, who went on to become a club prop at Chester River, was on that first team, qualified for the state tournament that year and was the Trojans’ MVP.

Kent County has had other outstanding golfers since then, including James Ciganek ‘ 16, the two-time Mid-Shore Golfer of the Year, and Warren West ‘06, a four-time district champion and three-time Mid-Shore Golfer of the Year. Ciganek and West also qualified for the state tournament.

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