Hudson's golf numbers improve
HUDSON - It hasn't been easy being a golfer at Hudson High. But this season, it's a lot easier than it has been in years. "It has been tough to be (a Hudson golfer)," second-year coach Destin Stanley said. "Fivay opens and we're not a very big school — about 1,100 students — but it's good to have what we have now." What the Cobras (0-2) have is an actual team for the first time in a long time. It is led by Mitchell Campbell, one of two seniors, who shot a second-place 74 at the Sunshine Athletic Conference tourney last season and an 81 at Class 1A-District 9 tourney.Now averaging about 39, Campbell and company — fellow-senior Blaine West, junior Will Watson and sophomore Andrew Nardozzi — are thinking big. "Me and Blaine are the only ones who have been here all four years," Campbell said. "I didn't play that well last year, but I got a lot better over the year and I think that we'll have a pretty good season this year. … We have a lot of potential. I think we'll be able to go to districts with a lot of confidence and even move onto regionals." Confidence is riding high for the team now carrying eight players when a few years ago it barely had enough to field for matches at their home course at Beacon Woods. "We're not terribly deep, but we do have depth — we have eight players, enough that some can play for the last starting spot," Stanley said. "It's a lot more kids than they've ever seen in a long while, plus to have some success at is really great." What hurt Hudson was the opening of Fivay a few miles up the road. The Cobras lost some talented golfers who have been vital to the Falcons' success, but then Stanley and Campbell had to find new golfers at their school. "We just wanted to get the word around that there is a golf team — most don't seem to know that," Stanley said. "We were just trying to get numbers out, but the turnout now is great and we're excited about it." Campbell, despite those impressive scores, buckled down during the offseason to really work on his game. He says he played "a whole lot" during the summer and even worked with a golf coach to help him shape shots and "get me to where I was really putting." Hudson is hoping that will pay off as they face a tri-match with Sunlake and district foe Wesley Chapel today at 3:30 p.m. at Plantation Palms Golf Club in Land O' Lakes. Or, at the very least, that extra work will make it easier to be Hudson golfer. "I think that we're coming out here and expecting a lot now," Campbell said. "I think we feel good enough about our team, especially with Fivay having a down year, and Mitchell is always good, but I think we feel we can win any given day. That makes it easier to be part of the team."
Correspondent Mike Camunas covers high school golf in Pasco County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunasTrib.