Freshmen Upsets Competition at States
Brendan Sheehan l Associate Editor
While Dylan Ramsey is Cedar Crest’s third golf state champion, he is the first freshman in school and possibly state history to have won States.
On Oct. 17 and 18, Dylan Ramsey shot 67-73, for an overall total of 140, where he edged out senior Rocco Salvitti, a Notre Dame commit, by one stroke. Beating out seniors at States seems abnormal, according to Ramsey.
“It's sort of hard to describe how it feels,” said Ramsey. “It just feels absolutely amazing being that I had really no intention of winning.”
Ranking close to the top on his list of his favorite moments from States falls Ramsey’s six-foot putt on hole 18 to get birdie. However, Ramsey’s favorite States moment was when he hit his second shot on hold 18 onto the green where he then achieved eagle (two under par on every hole).
“It was pretty cool to hear the crowd erupt after I hit the shot,” said Ramsey. “And with the senior tied with me in a bad spot, I felt pretty good over the shot especially since I hit the 3-wood great all week.”
Also competing at States that week were two-time state qualifiers seniors Ben Feeman and Jillian Fidler. Feeman tied for 48th along with three others while Fidler tied for 17th with one other.
“I feel proud of myself,” said Fidler. “It is not easy to qualify for States, and I'm happy that I made it my senior year.”
Just as proud of her regular season, Fidler exhibited her lowest scoring average this season out of her four years on the golf team.
“Advancing to States two years in a row is an amazing accomplishment by itself; to be able to just make it there is a tough path,” said Feeman. “The whole States experience is just a great time, so I'm blessed to got to experience that two years in a row.”
After a difficult first day at States for both Feeman and Fidler, they ultimately shared a similar feeling of disappointment. Feeman played 83-75 at States while Fidler played 85-79.
“I had a really difficult first day through tough conditions and put up a pretty bad score,” said Feeman. “I'm proud of myself for bouncing back in the second and putting up respectable score to finish off my high school career.”
Like Feeman and Fidler, Ramsey’s States experience was not without challenges. On the second hole, Ramsey hit his driver onto a tree surrounding a bush which led him to take an unplayable and finish the hole on a double bogey.
“The biggest challenge was definitely on hole two when I was tested early,” said Ramsey. “The key was I was able to stay calm and came right back with a birdie on the following hole and finished one under from there on out.”
Prior to States, all three state qualifiers competed at Leagues and Districts. Fidler’s season goals were to win Counties, place at Districts, and advance to States, and she completed all.
“My favorite postseason experience was probably winning Leagues and Counties as a team,” said Fidler. “(It was) super special, and nothing can really describe it.”
Not only did the team experience success at Leagues, but Feeman also won Leagues individually after a playoff with his teammate, Ramsey, to be the first Cedar Crest golfer to win in 22 years. Feeman’s main goal was to make it to States once again.
“Another one of my favorite moments was definitely getting to watch my teammate and good friend Dylan Ramsey win the state championship,” said Feeman. “I couldn’t have been happier for the kid, and it was so much fun to watch his last few holes coming down the stretch.”
Ramsey switched to online school in sixth grade in order to spend more time on golf, and he noted that the switch crucially helped his game by allowing him to practice at any time. Not going to the same school as his teammates caused Ramsey to initially question how the team would regard him.
“Man am I glad I did play because everyone on the team is so nice, funny, and super supportive of me,” said Ramsey. “Ben wanted to withdraw from the second round of States just to watch me.”
According to Ramsey, after joining the high school golf team, he made “more than just friends.” Ramsey prepared for the season by playing with the team at Fairview and Royal Oaks with his father.
“Winning the state championship never really crossed my mind, and I just wanted to enjoy it (the high school season) being that my summer 21 season is over,” said Ramsey. “And maybe Blaine Peffley’s high school records were in mind also (hey, he didn't win it as a freshman).”
Since the season’s conclusion, Ramsey has been enjoying the break from golf tournaments and will be taking time to improve on consistently scoring below par.
“My main goal is to improve my distance and to hit the ball farther going forward into next year,” said Ramsey. “I will continue with my speed training and keep practicing in that lovely 40-degree weather.”
While Ramsey takes time to focus on his skills for next Cedar Crest golf season, Feeman and Fidler look on to college. Both are looking to stay involved in golf as Fidler looks to play, and Feeman looks to either major in professional golf management or play.
“What I will miss most is being able to play my favorite sport with all my friends from Cedar Crest and my friends from other schools too,” said Feeman. “We have so much fun at matches and at practices.”
Similar to Feeman, Fidler reflected on the how she will miss the familial environment and camaraderie on the team.
“I will also really miss having Coach Gates as my golf coach,” said Fidler. “He's a really great coach and super nice person all around, and it was great to play for him my last couple of years.”
“They always came to practices or matches with a positive attitude and kept their composure even when they were playing their best,” said Gates. “They helped put Cedar Crest Golf back on the map, and I know they will go on to be successful after graduation.”