Golf Coach of the Year: James Wood's David Oates

5df45c61889be.imageDavid Oates is The Winchester Star Golf Coach of the Year for the third time in his seven years at the helm after leading James Wood back to the Region 4C tournament after a one-year absence.

The Colonels went undefeated in each of their seven competitions that featured four or fewer schools. James Wood had the top local finish in the Class 4 Northwestern District mini tournament (third out of eight teams), the Curly Licklider Invitational (sixth out of 26), the Bryan Gunter (third of 8) and the Northwestern District tournament (third, only the top three teams qualified for regionals). James Wood placed fifth as the only local team at the six-team Region 4C tournament.

Q. How did this season go based on your preseason expectations?

Oates: It went very well. I would take a season like this every year. I didn’t really come in with any preconceived notions. We had nine kids on the team this year, and we played six of them most of the time. They were steady for us. If a kid had an off day, another one would pick them up. I would go to somebody and say, ‘We really need you today,’ and they would deliver every time.

Q. What qualities stand out about your team this season?

Oates: [Senior] Jackson Lynch understood the game. [Junior] Carson Baker came around and had a great season. We had [senior] Ethan Russell back [after not having played since he was a freshman], which was a huge addition to our team as far as leadership. [Sophomore] Luke Davis did well for us, so did [senior] Drew Johnson. And [senior] Evan Peterman was amazing. Evan got cut two years ago, and he was our third-best scorer this year. All of these kids were determined to be good, and they did it. They did a lot of work on their own and came to offseason workouts. This team was just very determined.

Q. Was there any tournament or match that was significantly important in the team’s development before the postseason?

Oates: The performance we had at Fauquier Springs on [Sept. 16]. (James Wood shot a collective 9-over 145 over nine holes to beat Kettle Run, Fauquier and Briar Woods.) Since I’ve been coaching, that’s the first time we’ve beaten Kettle Run. That was good for the team’s confidence.

Q. What was the most difficult moment?

Oates: I think the Skyline Invitational when we did not perform the way we should have. (James Wood placed 10th out 17 teams and finished behind Handley with a score of 339 on its home Shenandoah Valley Golf Club course). That was really the only bump in the road for us.

Q. What was the most memorable moment?

Oates: The highlight was the district tournament. Luke Davis got disqualified on a ruling and we were afraid we weren’t going to make it to regionals. We didn’t have our best stuff that day, and Evan Peterman came through for us playing No. 6 and posted an [85] that moves us on. (James Wood beat Handley by four shots.)

Q. You lose five seniors from this year’s team. Expectations for next season?

Oates: I started dreading the last day of the season the second day of the season because I knew I’d be losing so many good kids. I’m counting on Carson Baker and Luke Davis to come back as well as others. Some kids have approached me about playing. We’ll just have to reload next year.

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki

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$250 Annual Winner

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$250 Annual Drawing was
Stephanie Ashby

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