Local golfers help Tech

Sussex Tech’s undefeated golf team has a trio of captains to lead them. All three are from the Frankford/Ocean View area.
Coastal Point • DAN GRAYBILL: Jesse Kitchen, Willie Thomas and Jason Rickards head the Sussex Tech golf team.Coastal Point • DAN GRAYBILL:
Jesse Kitchen, Willie Thomas and Jason Rickards head the Sussex Tech golf team.

Jesse Kitchen, Jason Rickards and Willie Thomas are the heads of the Ravens’ golf team. A fourth team member — Zack King — is also from that area and has also contributed to the Ravens’ success. All four are juniors and will be returning to Ravens golf next season.

“They all have a love of the game,” Sussex Tech assistant coach John Sadowski said of his players. “Jesse, Jason and Willie, along with senior Jason Bradford, are the nucleus of the team.”

If they weren’t attending Tech for the curriculum, Kitchen, Rickards, Thomas and King would normally be going to Indian River High School — a fact that isn’t lost on them. Kitchen, Rickards and Thomas all said facing the Indians is something they look forward to.

The bragging rights, assuming the Ravens come out on top versus the Indians, are also nice to have. And the Ravens did beat the Indians in both of their matches this season — most recently on May 18, by virtue of a tiebreaker.

Kitchen attributes his individual success this season to consistency.

“I have met some goals this season and missed some, but I’ve kept my scores all in one area,” he said. “Consistency is the key.”

Rickards is the new guy in town, coming to the area in August, before his sophomore year. He has only been playing for about a year but put in a 41 average.

Thomas is a little bit modest about his game, calling his season “iffy.” Of course, he was involved in a car crash in the middle of the season and missed two matches.

King hasn’t been a regular contributor to the lineup this season but is becoming a better player, rounding out the Frankford/Ocean View contingency for Ravens golf.

“He has improved and we are working on fundamentals with him,” Sadowski said of King.

The other three golfers often play together at Bear Trap Dunes, even during the winter. They sometimes get free balls to hit and even play for free.

But the proximity of their homes to that course — and each other — has been a help for the golfers.

“Living close by, we have developed a friendship,” said Rickards. “We can help each other with our swings and confidence.”

Rickards and Kitchen have an even greater opportunity to help each other, because they work together , in addition to going to school and playing golf together.

This season, all the team members played well for the Ravens, helping in their success. If one had an off day, someone else would be there to pick it up and help the team out. By doing that, they won the Henlopen Conference.

The team will head to Dover for the state golf tournament on May 31 and June 1.