By Bob Gaines
For The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- The air was heavy, the grass a bit mushy, and the hits were colossal.
On the 15th tee of the Bucknell Golf Course, some of the best hitters in the area displayed their unique talent on Monday evening at the second annual "Be Part of Something Great" Long Drive Contest.
Tracy Fetterman, an officer with the Mifflinburg Borough Police Department, captured the overall title with a drive of 304 yards, far short of a personal best. Although the rain had left, the humidity stayed and cut down on the distances.
"I hit it well," said Fetterman, "but they weren't flying today and had soft landings with no roll."
While muscle mattered, skill was the major factor. The finalists had plenty of tee shots, but any that missed the 35-yard mouth in the middle of the fairway were not counted. Of course, each of the golfers had a few great blasts that bombed, but there were plenty of picturesque drives right through the heart of the fairway that seemed to disappear from even the best of eye-sights.
Defending overall champion, Al Kline Jr., captured the senior crown this year -- he turned 50 last week.
"I got old," said Kline, who also reached the semifinals for the overall crown. "But I was very happy with the way I was hitting it; except that the ball wasn't traveling."
Josh Kahl, who starred for Selinsgrove High School last season, claimed the junior championship by edging C.J. Tyler of Shikellamy High.
"You have to put it on the fairway," said Kahl, who will be a freshman at Penn State.
"Just go out and crank some," he said.
At least it wasn't raining.
"I would have loved for it to have been drier and firmer for the longer yardage," said tournament co-chair Jeff Ranck. "But I thought it went great."
Ranck was especially pleased with the fundraising aspect as the event raised $10,488 for the Donald L. Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg.
"There was a tremendous amount of work putting this together and people did a great job of raising funds," he said.
Bucknell wrestling coach Dan Wirnsberger not only made the semifinals, but, more important, was the top fundraiser, earning the "Big Dog" title.
Other finalists in the overall division were Brett Hoffmaster, Thomas Marks, Christopher Walzer, Matt Borys, and Tim Harpster. Will Sumfest of Lewisburg High School finished third in the junior division.