‘Hawks win 1st JUCO state championship since 2009


Photo courtesy of Chris Cox

The Riverhawks golf team wins the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference championship for the first time since 2009. Shown, second-year psychology student Austin Smith, who shot a 75 in the tournament.

Dan Elson, Sports Editor

For the first time since 2009, the Riverhawks golf team won the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference championship in mid-April.

The Riverhawks will compete in the three-day National Junior College Athletic Association Region 20 Division III tournament at the end of May.

In the state tournament, Austin Smith, a second-year psychology student, shot a season best 75 at the College of Southern Maryland golf course. Parker Black, a first-year transfer studies student, scored a 76 and Ian Fitzgerald shot a 86. Smith scored the lowest out of any golfer in the tournament.

“We had everyone really step up as a team and worked hard to pull things back together toward the end of the season,” head coach Dave O’Donnell said. “It was great to see Austin win his final JUCO Championship after two years.”

The Riverhawks scored a team-combined 331. Hagerstown Community College shot a 343 and Carroll Community College scored a 362.

Smith said he’ll remember this victory years from now.

“I’ll be able to look back on whether I’ve become a professional golfer [or] psychologist,” Smith said. “I can show my kids or even grandkids one day [and] I’d be like, ‘Hey, look at this right here.’”

Smith said shooting a 75 took a “weight off his shoulders.”

“I finally was able to perform at a level that I can be OK with,” Smith said.

Second-year business student Connor Hackett said he performed better on the front nine than the back nine in the tournament.

“Toward the end there I got a little bit more [comfortable] and started hitting better shots and getting used to the course,” Hackett, who shot an 87, noted.

O’Donnell noted the team played on a “challenging” golf course.

“A lot of water, a lot of sand [and] very narrow in some places,” O’Donnell said. It [was] a very difficult golf course. … The fact that our guys were able to go down there and then get the job done was really a testament to their work ethic and their desire to win this championship for the school.”