The seeds of Riverbend’s 2013 golf season are scattered all around Fawn Lake.
“Just about every day we’d have a foursome going out,” said Michael Mead, who has been a member of the private Spotsylvania County golf club in some capacity since he was 5 years old.
“Within our friend group—even in middle school—we’d play 36 holes a day, just competing,” echoed future high school teammate Jake Miles.
Frequent summer tee times set the stage for The Free Lance–Star’s team of the decade. With a lineup featuring three future FLS players of the year—Mead, Miles, and Sameer Qader—Riverbend dominated Conference 4 play and finished runner-up to Chantilly in the 2013 Class 6A state tournament.
Until that point, however, the Bears’ toughest competition took the form of challenge matches at Fawn Lake. Beyond Mead, Miles and Qader, Devon Oeters, Josh Kennison and Drew Mueller routinely posted scores around par.
“It was so competitive that our No. 6 guy could be playing as the No. 1 seed,” Miles said. “Then the next week, our No. 1 guy would be playing as the No. 6 seed. It kept everyone practicing their hardest to try and stay in the lineup. I think that definitely benefited us in the long run.”
At least four of the Bears’ top six players that season went on to play collegiate golf. Miles is a rising senior at the Naval Academy with designs on becoming an aviator. Mead went on to a four-year golf career at Belmont Abbey, a Division II school in North Carolina, while Qader played at Longwood University. Kennison is a rising senior and member of the golf team at Embry-Riddle, where he’s majoring in aeronautical science.
Mead still has a photo of his teammates carrying him off the 18th green at Bowling Green Country Club, moments after he shot 61 to set the course record. It’s just one snapshot from a memorable senior campaign.
He saved his best for last, acing No. 17 at Meadowbrook Country Club on the second day of the 6A state championships. It was Mead’s seventh hole of the day, and, after a rocky start, the Bears were rallying across the board to put pressure on an preternaturally talented Chantilly squad.
Mead flew his 7-iron about three yards past the flagstick, then watched as it spun back into the cup for a hole-in-one.
“I don’t even know what my favorite moment would’ve been, maybe the whole thing,” Mead said of the 2013 season. “A lot of us are still good friends to this day.”
Joey LoMonaco: 540/368-5045