Lake Norman & Mooresville

Huskies, local golfers hope to make noise at 4A regionals

The Hough boys' golf team began the 2011 golf season with unknown expectations, having never played together as a collective unit.

Three months later, the Huskies have not only won all seven matches they have competed in their first year as a golf program and team, including the I-Meck tournament, but also are among contenders to win both the May 2's West Regional and 4A state championship in the next few weeks.

While Hough has a lot of talent, it all starts with their leader in coach Erik Herberth, who's also the co-owner and teaching professional at the Northstone Country Club in Huntersville.

Herberth, in his first year as high school coach, was an accomplished professional golfer from 2002 to 2007, most recently playing on the Nationwide Tour and in both the U.S. and British Amateurs after a standout collegiate career at Ohio University.

Herberth now focuses on teaching others the game, especially his Hough team.

"I love coaching high school golf," said Herberth. "I can't wait to go forward with this team. We should have a good, solid team for years to come."

Hough has been unbeatable this season, having five golfers earn All-I-Meck honors.

David Sargent won the I-Meck tournament, shooting a 74 at Northstone Country Club, while teammates Conner Lewis, Mace Timberlake and Peyton White all shot 75s to tie for second overall.

Hough's Clay Brown also earned a spot in the regional after helping his team to a 25-shot win over the field in the I-Meck tournament.

All five Husky golfers have won individual matches this year, something that makes this team unique.

"In a way, everything just sort of came together for this team," said Herberth. "I've got five different guys who think they can win every time they go out. They are all fighting for that top spot. That is a good problem to have."

The focus for the Huskies is to figure out how to win a title.

"Our biggest hurdle is for these kids to understand they are playing as a team," said Herberth. "Individually, I don't think any of our guys is going to win states, but as a team, collectively, we can win it all."

Hough is not the only Lake Norman area team that qualified for regional play, as both Lake Norman and Mooresville also made it into Monday's event.

Lake Norman's Andrew Johnson and Austin Peticca will lead the Wildcats into postseason after having both earned all-conference honors.

Mooresville's Ian Harper and Luke Robbins, the Blue Devils' All-I-Meck players, will try to get their team to make its mark in regional play.

North Mecklenburg, who lost a lot of talent to Hough, didn't qualify as a team, but senior Danny Pizetoski, a four-time all-conference selection, will be a big factor after finishing in fourth place at the state meet last year.

Pizetoski, who has committed to play golf at the University of Richmond next year, will be joined individually by teammates Danny Fleming and David Barkley.

Hopewell also has a golfer in the regional match as Brandon Holst, also an all-conference selection, will compete for the Titans.

The field

As Hough puts their undefeated mark on the line to try to contend for a regional title in its first season, they will face some stiff competition from established teams in the Charlotte area.

Defending regional champion Myers Park, Ardrey Kell and Alexander Central will be among the biggest challengers.

Ardrey Kell's Andrew Klasing shot a 64 to win the event last year and should be among the individual contenders along with the Knights' Mitch Schneider, Pizetoski, Sargent, Lewis as well as Myers Park's Andy Simmons and Butler's Charlie Kilzer.

But in a one-day event, anyone can win it all.

Herberth likes his team's odds.

"We have five guys who can go low at any time," he said. "I think that gives us a great chance in the regional and states to contend."