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District Tournament Begins BCC's Quest for 11th Straight Nationals Appearance
April 11, 2013 - Very little is certain when it comes to golf other than the grass is green and the ball is white.
But one thing can be safely assumed: none of the golfers on Brevard Community College's 2013 roster want to be the ones responsible for ending the team's streak of 10 straight national tournament appearances.
To that end BCC's first step toward making its 11th nationals trip in the last 11 years under head coach Jamie Howell begins next Monday and Tuesday at the NJCAA Division I District 4 tournament in Pendleton, SC.
The district winner and at least the five other top finishing teams advance to the May 12-17 national tournament at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
BCC finished as district runner-up to Meridian Community College in 2012 after winning the title from 2006-2008. It will compete with at least 11 other colleges for the right to make its 44th appearance in the national tournament's 54-year history and to seek its eighth national title.
Other schools competing are nationally top-ranked Central Alabama Community College, Darton College, Cape Fear Community College, Wallace State Community College, Faulkner State Community College, Meridian Community College, Spartanburg Methodist College, Tri County Technical College, University of South Carolina-Lancaster Community College, Gordon College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
BCC is tied for the No. 4-rank in the latest national poll. Darton is tied for No. 8 and Wallace State is 10th.
BCC's golf team includes sophomores Anthony Skirk, Keith Greene and Blake Biggs, who all hope to return to the national tournament in their last season at the College.
The Titans are coming off strong fall and spring seasons in which they finished in the top four in all 10 of their tournaments. BCC won one, recorded four second-place finishes, three thirds and two fourths. In four of the tournaments BCC was the only two-year college competing.
The five golfers who will seek to continue BCC's streak at the district tournament are freshmen Kyle Benson and Arthur Leonard and sophomores Blake Biggs, Keith Greene and Anthony Skirk.
The sophomores all played on the big stage in 2012 and naturally want to return.
After all, playing up to the recognized level of BCC's national prominence and excellence is paramount to Howell who makes the fact plain from day one.
"You definitely know when you are going to one of the top colleges in the nation for that sport that there is going to be history and you're going to have to perform up to that because that is what they are expecting," said Greene, who hails from Debary, FL.
Added Biggs about Howell's expectations: "I think in the beginning of the season he's already thinking about nationals and he prepares us from day one until May. He's always been talking about Lubbock, TX since we've been here."
And that preparation includes golf, golf and more golf from practice to playing 18 holes three to four times a week. After all, there is an edge to achieve and an edge to maintain in a sport that can be both demanding and demeaning.
The key to survival and success is patience.
"Bogeys are going to be made," said Biggs, of Peoria, IL. "Just wait for the moment to make a birdie. Come right back from it. That's worked well for me."
For Skirk, of Viera, FL, it comes down to confidence.
"For me, I put in all the practice here and then when I go out on the course I can trust and be confident that everything is going to be there and I will play my best," he said.
"You always have your off days. You try to keep those few and far between."
And all three agree that staying within themselves will be the key to success at districts and nationals.
'It's going to be about us as a team staying focused and looking at the shot at hand and not thinking about our competitors and what they're doing," Skirk said.
"I think that will be the main key because we all have the ability and the talent to accomplish what we have to do. There's no reason we shouldn't win districts and then nationals.
"If we play to our capabilities we will be good."