COLLEGE PARK -- Arundel's two-time defending state champion golf team put itself into position to three-peat after yesterday's opening round of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association tournament at the University of Maryland Golf Course.
The Wildcats of Anne Arundel County put together a team score of 311 and trail co-leaders Quince Orchard and Sherwood by one stroke heading into today's final round.
"Tomorrow is going to be survival of the strongest and the brave and not necessarily the most-skilled golfers will win it," said Arundel coach Carol Nutt, whose team has won three consecutive county and district titles. "The ones that keep their stuff together and don't choke or go crazy will win it."
Arundel junior Paul Wills finds himself as one of the lone Baltimore-area golfers left in the hunt for low-medalist honors. After making par on the first 12 holes, Wills birdied No. 13 and finished the day with a 1-over-par 72 -- two strokes back from Quince Orchard's Bart Mease.
"I think I'll be all right because to tell you the truth, I don't think he [Mease] can do that again," said Wills, the Anne Arundel County and District IV champion. "Maybe he can, but I still like the position I'm in."
So does Old Mill's Wendy Spry.
Spry, who captured the girls title at Tuesday's Anne Arundel County tournament with a round of 89 at Eisenhower Golf Course, leads the field of female competitors at the states after her opening-round score of 42-4486.
A Severna Park team led by Ryan Thompson and a Dulaney squad paced by Tim Moores find themselves still in contention with first-day team scores of 332 and 333, respectively. Thompson shot a 39-3877 for the Falcons and Moores led the Lions with a 37-4279.
Liberty's Class 2A contingent produced a team score of 351, with top performances coming from Jason Burt (40-4181) and Jeremy Allen (43-4184).
Some other noteworthy performances by individual entries included Mount Hebron's John Sniscok (38-4482), North County's Ian Stevenson (39-4382), Centennial's Jeff Smith (39-4382) and Annapolis' Adam Carstens (42-4183).
Rounding out Arundel's team score were consistent efforts by Scott Carpenter (38-3977), Eric Furtado (41-3879) and Fred Ryder (41-4283).
"I figured they'd be right in there but I didn't think they would shoot that well and they did," Nutt said in regard to Wills' supporting cast. "They all want to win this and they did what they had to do."