While in most instances high school athletics is largely based on teams or athletes facing off, golf is different in the regard that, while to a degree the latter two points are true, more than anything it is one golfer against the course. A player against the trees, the sand traps, the water hazards and sometimes, the elements.

Despite many of those things coming into play throughout the course of the season, 13 student-athletes proved to turn in stellar seasons on the links as VillageSoup unveils its second annual high school golf notables.

This year’s golf notables are Belfast’s Jamie Jackson and Stephen Simmons; Rockland’s Cameron Clement and Reilly Flanagan, Medomak Valley’s Zach Judkins and Alex Greenrose; Mount View’s Colby Blanchard and Erik Larrabee; Camden Hills’ John Vannorsdall and Jay Knowlton; Searsport’s Allen Connor; and Georges Valley’s Leah White and Mike Cormier.

Simmons, Cormier, Blanchard, Connor and White are seniors; Clement, Jackson, Vannorsdall, Judkins, Greenrose and Knowlton, all juniors; and Flanagan and Larrabee, both freshmen.

These student-athletes represent schools in Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln counties and, while not termed by VillageSoup as “all stars,” all those highlighted experienced consistently strong seasons, distinguished themselves in their sport and are worthy of being spotlighted.

For roughly three decades, a similar format was used in Knox County newspaper publications in the format of the The Courier-Gazette all stars and, more recently, VillageSoup all stars. Those past selections included only student-athletes from schools in Knox and part of Lincoln counties.

Now with the inclusion of student-athletes from Waldo County high schools starting during the 2009-10 school year, VillageSoup continues that storied tradition with its second annual sports notables.

VillageSoup will name notables in all high school varsity sports where there are at least two Midcoast teams playing an official varsity schedule.

Student-athletes who will be considered for notable distinction are from Belfast Area High School, Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockland District High School, Medomak Valley High School, Georges Valley High School, Vinalhaven High School, North Haven Community School, Islesboro Central School, Mount View High School and Searsport District High School.

In the fall, VillageSoup names notables in golf, cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer, football and field hockey.

In naming notables in a sport, VillageSoup is not trying to highlight every potentially deserving student-athlete from a given team, only to highlight the most consistently strong performers during a particular season in a particular sport. Obviously, with any such list of notables being subjective, not all those considered ultimately will make the final list of notables.

The nomination process for a sport begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of what they feel are each respective team’s premier players for that season, not for a high school career. The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

Again, not all potential notables will ultimately become VillageSoup’s notables: only those nominated by coaches and ultimately selected by the VillageSoup sports staff.

In the case of golf, Belfast’s Chip Lagerbom, Camden Hills’ Mark Wallace, Georges Valley’s Tim Hoppe, Mount View’s Craig Tozier, Searsport’s Steve Tupper, Medomak Valley’s Peter Stuart and Rockland’s Keenan Flanagan were all polled for their nominations.

North Haven, Vinalhaven and Islesboro do not have varsity golf programs.

A nomination only guarantees each candidate consideration, not notable status. While the input of each coach is weighed heavily with each candidate, the final decisions are made by VillageSoup Sports Director Ken Waltz and Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell.

There will be at least one representative from each school in a given sport. From that point, the rest of the notables could be a mix of athletes from many schools, or weighted heavily on one or two schools.

Golfers had to play in at least half of their team’s regular-season matches to be considered for notable status.

Golf notables are perhaps the most challenging of any of the teams to name, as scoring is different throughout each conference. For example, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference has one golfer from each team competing against another golfer for low nine-hole score and a single point, which ultimately will determine the team match winner in a nine-point system. The Mountain Valley Conference uses a similar formula, but uses a seven-point system to determine a winner. In the Penobscot Valley Conference, match play, or a hole to hole format, determines the overall winner.

Belfast, competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s Class B division, finished the regular season with a record of 8-2 and had the second highest win total of any high school team in Knox and Waldo counties. The Lions finished second overall in the conference’s Southern Division and also took second place in the KVAC Class B shootout with a four-golfer, nine-hole team total of 176. Belfast also shot a four-golfer, 18-hole total of 356 at the KVAC Class B state qualifier to earn one of the final two spots at the state Class B championships. At the state championships, Belfast shot 358 and finished sixth among 12 qualifying squads. Two of their golfers, Jackson and Simmons, both qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships.

Camden Hills, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished the regular season with a record of 5-5. The Windjammers shot 361 at the state qualifier, leaving them on the outside looking in for the state Class B championships. One of their golfers, Vannorsdall, qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships.

Georges Valley, competing in the Mountain Valley Conference’s Class C division, finished the regular season with a record of 5-5 and wrapped up the No. 2 seed for the Mountain Valley Conference quarterfinals. The Buccaneers wound up falling to third-seeded Telstar of Bethel 5-2, eliminating them from postseason play. One of their golfers, White, took top honors in the girls qualifier, earning the right to participate in the state individual schoolgirl championships.

Medomak Valley, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished the regular season with a record of 4-6. The Panthers shot 362 at the state qualifier, leaving them on the outside looking in for the state Class B championships. One of their golfers, Judkins, qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships.

Mount View, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished the regular season with a record of 0-10. The Mustangs shot 417 at the state qualifier, leaving them well short of qualifying for the state Class B team championships. However, one of their golfers, Larrabee, qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships.

Rockland, competing in the KVAC Class B division, finished the season with a record of 4-6. Despite the sub-.500 finish, the Tigers roared out of the gate at the KVAC Class B state qualifier and shot 350 for 18 holes to earn them one of the remaining spots at the state Class B championships. At the states, Rockland shot 372 to finish 10th among 12 qualifying teams. Two of their golfers, Flanagan and Clement, both qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships

Searsport, competing in the Penobscot Valley Conference Class C division, finished the regular season with a record of 9-1 and not only proved to be one of the conference’s most consistent teams, but had the highest win total of any team throughout Knox and Waldo counties. The Vikings earned the PVC Class C Southern Division championship based on their play on the links this season, and also finished fifth overall in the PVC championship. The Vikings fell short in qualifying for the state tournament.

The following is a rundown of the Midcoast’s top golfers, listed in alphabetical order.

Blanchard, a senior, went 9-1 on the links this season, including winning his first seven matches in head-to-head competition out of Mount View’s number one spot. The steady shooter also averaged 37.9 per nine holes during the regular season. “Colby had a great personal season, he was our team captain and in that role he helped his fellow teammates at practices and was a great role model for them,” said coach Tozier.

Despite having the best head-to-head record of anyone in the Midcoast and having one of the top two averages, Blanchard was not selected to the Class B all-conference team due to his falling one-stroke short of qualifying for the state individual schoolboy championships. Blanchard missed the cut by one stroke, shooting an 87 for 18 holes.

Clement, a junior, has blossomed into Rockland’s top golfer and proved it this season by playing out of the No. 1 spot for the Tigers. Despite finishing the regular season with a record of 2-8, Clement averaged 42.8 per nine holes and not only helped lead the team into the state Class B team championships, but qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships as well.

Clement shot 77 at the Class B state qualifier and 92 at the state Class B championships, the first of which qualified him for the state individual championships. There, Clement shot an 89 among cold, windy and wet conditions. His play on the links earned him KVAC first-team all-conference honors. Coach Flanagan added that Clement was ” the leader of our team [and] has developed over a three-year period into our number one player.”

Connor, a senior, turned into Searsport’s most consistent all-around golfer this season and proved just that with his play on the course. Connor was a Class C PVC all-conference selection this year and medaled in four matches this season. He shot 38 on many occasions this season, which was his top overall score per nine holes, and also averaged 39 per nine holes throughout the season. Coach Tupper added that Connor’s play “led” the Vikings to their Southern Division Class C PVC championship, as well as to their 9-1 team mark.

Cormier, a senior, played out of the No. 1 spot this season for Georges Valley and finished the regular season with a 3-6 record. Coach Hoppe added that Cormier was “dedicated, respectful of the game and the players and represented [Georges Valley] very well.” Cormier averaged 48 per nine holes throughout the regular season and earned the team’s coache’s award. Cormier shot 55 in the Bucs’ playoff loss to Telstar and 103 for 18 holes during the Mountain Valley Conference Class C state qualifier.

Flanagan, a freshman, jumped into the thick of things in the Rockland pecking order and solidified himself quickly as one of the Tigers’ top two golfers. Playing out of the No. 2 spot on the ladder, Flanagan earned a head-to-head record of 5-5 and helped not only the Tigers qualify for the state Class B competition, but also qualified for the state individual schoolboy championships in the process.

Flanagan shot 86 at the Class B state qualifier and an 88 at the Class B state championships, the first of which qualified him for the state individual championships. There, Flanagan shot what his father and coach called “his best golf of the year,” shooting an 83, which tied him for 10th overall in Class B. Flanagan also earned himself KVAC Class B all-conference honors. Coach Flanagan said his son “is looking forward to improving his position on the team and in the state championships in the next three years.”

Greenrose, a junior, was Medomak Valley’s most consistent golfer this season. A mentally tough player who played in many close matches, Greenrose bounced up and down the ladder between the No. 1 and No. 3 slots, often competing against many of the KVACs top golfers. He finished the regular season with a record of 3-7, while sporting a team-best 44.7 average for nine holes. Greenrose had an off-day at the Class B state qualifier with a 97 through 18 holes, but figures to be back in the mix as a senior as one of the Panthers’ top golfers.

Jackson, a junior, was again one of the top golfers in the Midcoast and went on to even greater success at the state level this season for Belfast. Jackson finished the regular season with a record of 8-2, maintained a 37.4 average for nine holes and was second medalist at the KVAC Class B shootout where the Lions finished as runners-up.

Jackson shot 77 at the Class B state qualifier and 75 at the state Class B championships, the first score of which qualified him for the state individual schoolboy championships. Once there, Jackson finished fourth in Class B through incredibly challenging conditions, shooting an 82 through 18 holes. Last season, Jackson was the state runner-up in the individual championships. He also shot 40 at the KVAC Class B championships. Jackson earned a KVAC Class B first-team all-conference selection and, along with Simmons, was a co-captain of this year’s squad.

Judkins, a junior, played down the ladder this season for Medomak Valley, but made the most of his opportunities when that arose this season playing out of the Nos. 4-5 spots. Judkins had a record of 4-6, averaged 48.8 per nine holes and medaled in the final match of the regular season — an upset victory over previously undefeated Lincoln Academy of Newcastle. Judkins shot an 84 at the Class B state qualifier, which earned him a berth at the state individual schoolboy championships. There, he shot an 89 among cold, windy and rainy conditions. His play on the links this season earned him a KVAC Class B first-team all-conference selection.

Knowlton, a junior, alternated back and forth with Vannorsdall between the top two spots this season for the Windjammers, while both played exceptionally well on the links. Knowlton finished the regular season with a 6-4 mark and averaged 41.6 for nine holes before stumbling at the state qualifier, leaving him short of his goal of the state individual schoolboy championships. Despite that, coach Wallace said Knowlton “can hit the ball a mile when he’s swinging well” and that the Windjammers would not have had the success on the links they did without him. Knowlton and Vannorsdall figure to be right back atop the ladder next season for Camden Hills.

Larrabee, a freshman, golfed well for the Mustangs this season, though his overall record does not indicate it playing out of the No. 2 spot. Larrabee went 2-8 in head-to-head competition against opponents, but averaged a steady 43.9 per nine holes during the regular season.

Larrabee shot 83 at the Class B state qualifier, earning him a berth in the state individual schoolboy championships. There, the freshman shot a 93 amidst terrible conditions. Larrabee figures to make the jump to the No. 1 spot next season, supplanting the graduating Blanchard.

Simmons, a senior, had a terrific final season on the links for Belfast as he and teammate Jackson proved to be the Midcoast’s most formidable one-two punch throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. Simmons finished the regular season with an 8-2 record and maintained an averaged of 40.2 for nine holes. His play helped the Lions compete at both the conference and state levels, as well as qualifying himself for the state individual schoolboy championships in the process.

Simmons shot 86 at the Class B state qualifier and 85 at the Class B state championships, the first of which qualified him for the state individual schoolboy championships. There, Simmons shot 88 through considerably damp conditions. Simmons earned a KVAC Class B first-team all-conference selection and, along with Jackson, was a co-captain of this year’s squad.

Vannorsdall, a junior, alternated with Knowlton between the No. 1-2 spots this season, with both proving to carry their weight accordingly for Camden Hills. Vannorsdall finished the regular season with a record of 6-4 and averaged 41.6 per nine holes. Vannorsdall shot 86 at the Class B state qualifier, just making the cut for the state individual schoolboy championships. There, the junior shot 85 through incredibly tough conditions.

Coach Wallace added that Vannorsdall has an incredible work ethic for the game, adding “he’s always practicing even when he’s not practicing.” He said the junior has a great short game and is always down the middle off of the tee box. Vannorsdall, along with Knowlton, will be a tough duo for other teams to overcome next season for the Windjammers.

White, a senior, had many good matches this season, according to coach Hoppe, as she bounced between the No. 2-3 spots for the Buccaneers. White recorded a record of 4-5 this season, averaged 50 per nine holes this season and also earned team most valuable players honors. White shot 57 and won her match in the MVC quarterfinal against Telstar, while also qualifying for the state individual schoolgirl championships. She was the top overall shooter at the qualifier, finishing with a 93 through 18 holes. At the state individual schoolgirl championships, White was forced to withdraw on the back nine holes with both back and arm injuries. It was the second straight year White qualified for the state individual championships.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.