TENNERTON – When Jason Westfall inherited the Buckhannon-Upshur golf team as head coach four years ago, he took over a program with low numbers, full of underclassman and little experience.
That team took its lumps, but Westfall knew that if his young team worked hard and stayed together, that good things were on the horizon.
Now in 2021, after an appearance in the state tournament where they finished eighth last season and off to a 9-1 start to this year, Westfall has compiled one of better team in the state.
“Looking back on it now, how inexperienced all of us were, it’s amazing to see how we have all grown together,” stated Westfall. “We started with five players in 2018 and they meant a lot to me and this program. Four of them will graduate this year. Seeing their growth has been very special. They have achieved many things and have went through the feast and the famine. They stuck together and bonded...they may not realize it now but that will last their lifetime.”
With a senior-laden roster of Evan Coffman, Isaac Lane, Landon Hitt and Tucker Hurst, Westfall and the Bucs are looking for even more this season than just a trip to states.
“Our expectations are clear for us,” said Westfall. “We knew the moment we walked off the course last year at states, that we want to be back and to compete for the title. We embrace it. It is a product of their hard work and ability. We have a “Why not us?” mentality this season. Our seniors have a lot left in the tank and we are excited to see where it goes.
“Evan, Isaac and Landon are in good form. They are striking the ball well and they love playing. They would play all day. They want to be the best. Landon and Evan spent some time in Florida over the winter working on their game. They have worked countless hours on their swing. Evan also competed in the Junior Callaway over the summer and has done well. They are ready to go. Isaac is so talented. He doesn’t even realize how good he can be at times. He is steady and ready to go. Tucker is striking it good and will work himself into form. Tucker can be just as good as anyone and nothing rattles him. I expect him to be ready. They have a wealth of experience and know what it takes.”
The roster has 12 members overall that also include juniors Brayden Hamer and Jesse Hackett, sophomores Jaden Westfall and Tucker Burr, and freshmen Jevon Westfall, Easton Perkins, Parker Lockwood and Taylor Spratt.
The high numbers will allow Westfall to have a junior varsity program this season.
“With my juniors, Hamer is a returning player and has the talent to be a great player,” said Westfall. “He is still has some rough spots but he is growing. He is trying to break into that top four and is progressing. Hackett is new to the program. He loves playing with his grandfather and dad and thought he would give the competitive part a try. He is improving quickly. The sophomores, Burr and Jaden Westfall, are competing for a varsity spot. They are good ball strikers but are still trying to fully embrace golf course management. They have carded some good scores in practice. We have a big freshman class which I am excited about. They are talented, starting with Perkins, he is accurate and knows how to get around the course. Spratt has the drive and work ethic to be a good player. Jevon Westfall, he has a smooth swing and is consistent.Lockwood is our lefty of the group. He has great potential. His short game is his strength. We have competition within our ranks which is what coaches want. Each player competing and earning their spot. The underclassman have a shot but those upperclassman are not going to give it up yet. Going through the process each day of competing for your spot breads success.”
The high number of players will allow Westfall to have a junior varsity program this season.
“Since my first year we have worked toward building our program,” commented Westfall. “I have encouraged students to participate. Having some success helps to fan that flame and it’s great to see so many kids come out for the team.”
The Bucs will compete once again in a competitive Big 10 Conference and Region I.
“We expect good and friendly competition this season,” noted Westfall. “Everyone is working toward making it to states. The Big 10 Conference presents a good challenge both in the courses we play and the players. Our region is strong as usual with defending state champ Wheeling Park. We will see them mid-season. Our schedule is full of great courses, great players and state qualifiers.”
Westfall said all the team’s success wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community.
“I think our community has a great golf foundation and tradition,” concluded Westfall. “I want to say thank you to the community for their support. I also want to thank Buckhannon Country Club and President Dusty Zickefoose for opening their course and supporting the program. I want to thank the administration and especially our athletic director Rick Reynolds for their endless support.”
B-U GOLF ROSTER
Aug. 4 – at Polish Pines, Keyser
Aug. 9 – at Pines Country Club, Morgantown
Aug. 16 – Home match
Aug. 17 – at Alpine Golf Course, Kingwood
Aug. 18 – at Tygart Lake Golf Course, Grafton
Aug. 19 – at Bel Meadows Golf Course, Mount Clare
Aug. 21 – at Green Hills Country Club, Fairmont
Aug. 23 – Home match
Aug. 24 – at Oglebay Resort, Wheeling
Aug. 25 – at Bridgeport
Aug. 27 – Home match
Sept. 2 – at Stonewall Resort, Weston
Sept. 3 – at Bel Meadows Golf Course, Mount Clare (Buccaneer Invitational)
Sept. 7 – at Preston
Sept. 8 – at Green Hills Country Club, Fairmont
Sept. 10 – Home match
Sept. 13 – at Elks Golf Course, Elkins
Sept. 15 – at Mountainview Golf Course, Morgantown
Sept. 20 – Big 10 Conference Championships at Bel Meadows
Sept. 22 – at Stonewall Resort (Route 33 Cup)