Wesley Chapel team looks for first trip to states
By Kyle LoJacono
Alan Black has been the only boys golf coach at Wesley Chapel High and the Wildcats are looking to send him out a winner.
“He’s probably the coolest guy I know,” senior Matt Wynne said of Black. “He’s laid back most of the time, but gets really serious with us when he needs to be. He’s just a good guy and a great coach.
“All the seniors want to make this our best year, but we also want to send him off with some hardware,” Wynne continued. “We’re all trying our best to get to states.”
Black came to the school when it opened in 1999. He previously coached at Land O’ Lakes High and Pasco High. In total he has coached golf for 24 years in Pasco County.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time,” Black said. “It’s a matter of having children and grandchildren that I’d like to spend some more time with. If it was up to me I’d take all the players with me to Tennessee so I can keep coaching them, but I can’t. I’ve had a lot of fun, but it’s time for it to come to an end.”
The season has started out promising for the Wildcats. They have won their first three matches, including wins against Hudson High, Ridgewood High and Zephyrhills High. However, Black knows winning the district will not be easy.
“We’ve gotten to something like 10 regional tournaments in my three coaching stops in Pasco, but we’ve never won a district title at Wesley Chapel,” Black said. “This might just be the year we win districts and get to states as a team for the first time.”
Last year the team finished 5-6 in the regular season, but got hot in the district tournament to finish as the runner-up.
Black said the team is a little ahead of schedule from where he thought they would be at this point in the season. He said the depth in the roster is such that one player can have a bad round and not hurt the team’s chance of winning.
The No. 1 player for the Wildcats is Jacob Fleck, a senior. He started playing during the summer between middle and high school. During this summer he entered several area events and did so well he was named the Greater Tampa Junior Golf Association’s Player of the Year.
“This year I’d like to make it to states,” Jacob said. “I also want to shoot under par for the year.”
Jacob averaged a score of 37.2 last year, just over par which was 36.
Jacob’s younger brother, Noah, is also on the team. Fleck said it is really fun to practice and play on the same team as his brother.
“The whole team has great camaraderie,” Jacob said. “We all hang out off the course and enjoy playing together.”
Jacob’s athletic focus is completely on golf, but a couple of the Wildcats are also stars on the baseball team. The No. 2 golfer Brandon Mumaw, a senior, is a starting pitcher who had a team-leading 0.50 earned run average (ERA) while recording six wins and one save adding 47 strikeouts last year.
Wynne pitched a lot out of the Wesley Chapel bullpen last year and had three wins and two saves with a 1.56 ERA while recording 27 strikeouts.
“In golf if you try and hit a ball too hard you usually slice it or just mess up,” Wynne said. “I’ve had to learn to take it easy. It’s like baseball in that way because trying to throw harder or swing harder doesn’t really help. Sometimes you have to slow down.”
Black said Wesley Chapel baseball coach Chuck Yingling has been very receptive to the players participating in golf.
“It helps give them a diversion from baseball,” Black said.
Wesley Chapel athletic director Steve Mumaw, who is Brandon’s father, said coach Black has done a tremendous job with the program.
“We’ll miss him after this year,” Steve said. “It’ll be hard to find someone to replace him.”
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