The second annual Hawktober Festival Golf Tournament, an 18-hole competition hosted by the College Alumni Office and Athletics Department, finally took place on Oct. 29 after an initial delay earlier in the month due to weather conditions.
Originally scheduled during Family Weekend and Hawktoberfest, the first weekend of the month, the tournament was delayed due to inclement weather that hit campus earlier that week.
“It was postponed until Friday, Oct. 29 because of the 15 inches of rain that we received earlier this month,” said Director of Alumni Relations David Sushinsky in an email to all students, faculty, and staff.
While this tournament was the second of its kind with the “Hawktoberfest” affiliation, the idea of the tournament began several years ago under Alumni Relations, as the tournament was held every year for returning alumni during the summer.
“The alumni office used to host a golf tournament during Alumni Weekend in June,” said Sushinsky. “I figured it would be nice to hold it during the school year so we could include faculty, staff, and current students.”
The Alumni Office set the tournament location to the Cedar Point Golf Course, at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Golfers, consisting of current St. Mary’s students, alumni, faculty, and staff, went out to the driving range at 7:30 a.m. on Friday in preparation for the start of the tournament at 9 a.m.. The tournament entry fee was $65 for students and $100 for non-students.
“We had some extra profit left over from last year and so we decided to lower the cost of student participation from $100 to $65,” said Sushinsky. “Despite that, we still haven’t had a lot of current student participation.”
While students are not participating as much as expected or hoped by the Alumni Office, more people registered for the Oct. 1 tournament this year than did for last year’s competition.
“We had 80 golfers signed up for the Oct. 1 date, which was great since we only had 51 last year from our first attempt,” said Sushinsky. “[It was a] good turnout [on Friday] – we had 51 golfers.”
The tournament itself is mainly self-sufficient, as enough profit is made each year between admissions and sponsorships to cover the expenses of the event. This was important during its planning phases, as the Alumni Office did not have sufficient funds to pay for the entire tournament. Fifteen local sponsors also contributed to the tournament.
While the tournament was just added to the Hawktoberfest activities line-up, more activities are being proposed for next year. “It seems that each year, we are adding something new to encourage alumni to return,” said Sushinsky.
“Next year we hope to add small one-hour academic seminars taught by professors. With that addition to our current events, alumni will have academic, athletic and social incentives to return to St. Mary’s on that particular weekend.”
Oct. 29 turned out to be a sunny day for golfing, which seemed to counterbalance the strong winds throughout the tournament. Out of the 51 participants, the three top teams were recognized. The first place team, with David Mummert, Andy Mummert, Matt Van Wie, and Andy Loney, won out over Herb Gainey, Philip Gainey, Bradley Gainey, and Patrick Bell, on the second place team. The team consisting of Bernie Taylor, John Enright, Paul Lynch, and Daniel Reaver took third place.
“The tournament was great, and I’m not just saying that because we won,” said David Mummert. “I’ll definitely be playing again next year and hopefully I’ll be able to bring at least another foursome of alumni from my era.”
Participants in the tournament were provided lunch and beverages throughout the day, as well as gifts from the sponsors. “I’ve played in lots of scramble tournaments like this,” said David Mummert, “and this is the only one I’ve played in where every player goes home with a bottle of wine. That’s pretty cool.”
While new events will be added to next year’s Hawktober Festival, the golf tournament is still on the Hawktoberfest schedule, with the hopes of attracting even more students to the course for its third anniversary.