After a hot, dry summer with plenty of chances to play a few rounds, many of the area’s high school golf teams are expected to contend for conference, district and state titles in the 2015 season.
The team primed to battle for not only another district championship, but a state championship as well is Upper Dublin. The Cardinals, who finished first in the Suburban One League American Conference, first in District 1-AAA, and fourth in the state in 2014, bring back four returning starters. Those returnees include both Michael Reed-Price and Jack Melville, who both competed in the individual competition at states.
“We hope to pick up at least one more (player),” said UD coach Dave Koch about his team this year. “We have a nice nucleus and good senior leadership.”
“(Plymouth Whitemarsh) and Wissahickon are always challenges to us – they’re very, very good,” Koch said. “Cheltenham has picked up a couple good players as well”
Upper Dublin hosts Wissahickon Sept. 3 at LuLu Country Club. The Trojans return six starters of their own after a season that saw them finish 12-2 in the SOL American last year.
“I believe we’re ready to take that next step,” Trojans coach John Shapcott said. “Our goal is to be more consistent from top to bottom this year. Upper Dublin has a great line up and they’ll be tough to beat.”
One of the teams to watch in the Philadelphia Catholic League is La Salle, which finished 13-1 in the league and 16-3 overall. The big obstacle this season for the Explorers — defending state AAA champion St. Joseph’s Prep, which returns almost all of its golfers. La Salle travels to Philadelphia Country Club to take on The Prep in the second match of the season.
“The early match is just an opportunity for us to measure our own talent,” Explorers coach Marty Jackson said. “Trying to figure out the top eight eligible for the PCL Championship is difficult. Our goal for the Prep match is to compete and put up a solid team score.”
La Salle opens its season at defending District-12 AA champion Lansdale Catholic. LC expects to repeat as district champs this year, and hopes to finish in the PCL’s top three.
“The matchup with LaSalle is always a challenge. Coach Jackson has molded a strong program and is always in the running for top 3 in the PCL,” Crusaders Coach Phil Dlugolecki said. “Our performance against them will provide the team an idea of the scores they will need to shoot to contest with the best in the PCL.”
The SOL Continental favorites will again be Souderton this year. Big Red has six starters coming back this season after they finished 13-1 in conference play last year. The next closest team was Central Bucks West, which finished at 10-4.
“As always the Continental Conference will be strong,” Souderton coach Fred Cicacci said. “Although we have a strong nucleus, we will need some help from golfers who step up to round out our lineup.”
North Penn is look to improve in the SOL Continental after finishing tied for fourth in the conference last year at 8-6. The Knights hope to build on last year and rely on their returnees throughout the season.
“We have a solid senior class and a strong junior class of players coming back this year with experience, which made our depth stronger,” North Penn coach Dave DiValentino said. “We also had our largest turnout of 9th graders tryout this season.”
Coach: Jason Cottone.
Last Year: 8-6 SOL National, 10-7 overall.
Key Returners: Matt Shur (Sr.), Andy Ring (Sr.), David McDermott (Sr.).
Top Newcomers: Taylor Munn (So.), Zach O’Leary (So.)
Outlook: “Working with the newer players at the Varsity level to ensure that they are thinking on the course while planning each shot to compete at the Varsity level (is key),” Cottone said. “Course management will be essential to maintaining consistent scores as well as mentally preparing each golfer to get over struggles and bad shots on the course.”
Coach: Bob Schmalbach.
Last Year: 10-3 PCL, 10-3 overall.
Key Returners: Matt McGettigan (Sr.), Karly Brown (Jr.)
Top Newcomers: Brian DeGraw (Sr.), John Nowicke (Jr.), Luke Reynolds (Jr.), Grant Boyk (So.).
Outlook: “The ability of the newcomers to the line-up to get golf maturity real fast in order to compete in the PCL (is key)” Schmalbach said.
Coach: Jon Manser.
Last Year: 7-7 SOL American, 7-7 overall.
Key Returners: Stephen DeFrancis, Luke Fisher, Jack McHugh, Jacob Petrisko.
Outlook: “Consistent play from the bottom half of our lineup to improve our overall team score in matches (is a key to the season),” Manser said.
Coach: Cory Longacre.
Last Year: 2-14
Key Returners: Chandler Bergey (Sr.), Olyvia Longacre (Sr.), Jon Nieto (Sr.).
Top Newcomers: Matt Schmidt (Jr.).
Outlook: “I’m Looking to see growth from last years freshmen and new players to contribute to our overall team improvement. And our Seniors need to be consistent and play strong throughout the year,” Longacre said.
Coach: David Martin.
Last Year: 5-25 Inter-Ac, 8-25 overall.
Key Returners: Tyler Andra (Sr.), Gavin Giampalmi (Jr.), Jack Petersohn (Jr.), Drew Hoeppner (So.), Teddy Davis (So.), Ryan Booth (So.)
Outlook: “We return six of our top ten players from last year. Our players will have to be focused each and every time we play.,” Martin said.
Coach: Mike Harmon.
Last Year: 5-9.
Key Returners: Jacob Molnar (Sr.), Hayden Moffat (So.), Max Griffith (Sr.), Tommy Haas (Sr.), Jack McCormick (So.), Mike Festa (So.)
Top newcomers: Johnny Malozzi (Jr.).
Outlook: “Consistency among the starters (is important), we have many returning varsity players with a lot of experience and we are hoping to capitalize off of that experience.,” Harmon said.
Coach: Marty Jackson.
Last Year: 13-1 PCL, 16-3.
Key Returners: Eric Carlidge (Sr.), Hugh Farris (Sr.), Brent Schoeller (Jr.), Phil Held (Sr.), and Troy Thierolf (Sr.).
Top Newcomers: Kyle Kellenbenz (Sr.), Billy Matthews (Sr.), Rich Vanni (Sr.), Seamus Gibbons (Sr.), Connor Pensabene (Sr.), Kyle McGranaghan (Sr.), Andrew Lepore (Sr.), Cole White (Jr.)
Outlook: “(We have) a great bunch of young men who need to become focused, confident competitors,” Jackson said.
Coach: Phil Dlugolecki.
Key Returners: Nick Kuhn (Sr.), Pat Rafferty (Sr.), Jack Bagnell (Sr.), Jack Daley (Sr.), Marcus Janinek (Jr.), Joe Walsh (Jr.).
Top Newcomers: Cole Crimlish (Fr.), Owen Murphy (Fr.), Pat Gillen (Fr.)
Outlook: “I am confident in the team this year, we have a strong group of seniors, and experienced juniors,” Dlugolecki said. “I am pleased with the amount of freshmen on the team this year and the potential they possess.”
Coach: John Conrad.
Last Year: 5-5 Bicentennial, 8-7 overall
Key Returners: Jake Fazio (Sr.), Richard Rhoads (Sr.), Justin Feng (Sr.), Daniel Galbreath (So.).
Top Newcomers: Harrison Roesser (So.), Brennan Bostock (So.).
Outlook: “Consistent play from our seniors is a must. We will also need someone new to step up and score for us on a consistent basis,” Conrad said.
Coach: Kevin Flanagan.
Last Year: 10-1 Pac 10, 10-2 overall.
Key Returners: TJ Cinelli (Sr.), Adam Duca (Sr.), Zach Feaster (Sr.), Connor McCaffrey (Jr.), Max Rennie (Jr.), Harvey Smith (Jr.), Dan Rieger (Jr.), Kyle Vance (Jr.), John McGrory (Jr.), Gunnar Gale (Jr.).
Top Newcomers: Christian Rossi (So.), John Cooper (So.), Caleb Ryan (Fr.).
Outlook: “Building on last year’s success (is key),” Flanagan said. “We have a lot of experience in our lineup and our team goals have not changed: Play the regular season to get into the Final Four and give ourselves a chance to win the league title.”
Mount St. Joseph
Coach: Michael Brown.
Last Year: 14-0 AACA, 15-0 overall.
Key Returners: Megan Bray (Sr.), Claire Brown (Sr.), Joanie Gannon (Sr.), Caitlin Mahon (Jr.).
Top Newcomers: Brianna Mahon.
Outlook: “We have five all-league performers returning. We graduated two seniors of which one was a former state champion (Isabella DiLisio),” Brown said. “We will be led by senior Captains Megan Bray and Claire Brown. Joanie Gannon has won a few events this summer and has continued to improve over her 4 years at the Mount.
“Caitlin Mahon is a junior to watch as she has had a good summer in the Philadelphia area. It will be difficult to have as good a year as last year but we believe we will return to states and have a chance to win again.”
Coach: Dave DiValentino.
Last Year: 8-6 SOL Continental, 24-10 overall.
Key Returners: Andrew Lombardo (Jr.), Ron Robinson (Jr.), Matt Pickford (Sr.).
Players to Watch: Nick Romano (Jr.), Joey Shibata (Sr.).
Outlook: “I am very excited about the potential for this year,” DiValentino said. “Our players are motivated and dedicated to working on their individual games, but they also work extremely well together as a team. If they relax and have fun on the course, I know we will have a very successful season.”
Coach: Tim Rimmer.
Last Year: 9-5 SOL Continental, 16-5 overall.
Key Returners: Andrew Simpson (Sr.), Jake Wiley (Sr.), DJ Holton (Sr.), Nate Hess (Sr.).
Top Newcomers: Cole White (So.).
Outlook: “The key is gonna be how our top 5 guys handle themselves match in and match out,” Rimmer said. “The key is how those guys will stay consistent.”
Coach: Jeff Kavanagh.
Last Year: 10-4 SOL American, 11-6 overall.
Key Returners: John Hansel (Sr.), Jake Laudenbach (Sr.), Matt Aprile (Jr.), Steve Roehm (Jr.).
Top newcomers: Jake Butler (Jr.).
Outlook: “We have some big matches early on in the season this year,” Kavanagh said. “We just want to get some momentum going early and stay focused throughout the season.”
Coach: Fred Cicacci
Last Year: 13-1 SOL Continental, 14-1 overall.
Key Returners: Dawson Anders (Jr.), Quinn Guzman (Sr.), Hirsh Sisodia (Sr.), Nicholas Scott (Jr.), Anthony Barr (So.).
Top Newcomers: Connor Gephart, Sameer Sheik, Jack DeSpain, Jordan Engelhart, Evan Kreiser.
Outlook: “We have a very nice group of ninth graders who will help our program in the future and perhaps even this year,” Cicacci said.
Coach: Al Carollo.
Last Year: 6-7 SOL American, 6-7 overall.
Coach: Dave Koch.
Last Year: 14-0 SOL American, 16-0 overall (District 1 Champions)
Key Returners: Jack Melville (Sr.), Michael Reed-Price (Sr.), David Kim (Jr.), Joe Kim (Sr.).
Top Newcomers: Mike Chwal.
Outlook: “The senior leadership will be the key to our success,’ Koch said. Our seniors will need to shoot consistently well to allow us a repeat of last year.”
Coach: Eric Green.
Last Year: 2-12 SOL American, 2-12 overall.
Coach: Fred DiChiara.
Last Year: 3-9 SOL National, 4-13 overall.
Coach: John Shapcott.
Last Year: 12-2 SOL American, 12-2 overall.
Key Returners: Greg Welsh (Sr.), Jacob Kang (Sr.), Noah Harrington (Jr.), Matt Graeff (Jr.), Phil James (Jr.), Thomas Clements (Jr.)
Top Newcomers: David Kovacs (Sr.), Alec Fell (Sr.), Andrea Mazurek (Sr.), Noah Twersky (Jr.), Cooper McMasters (Jr.)
Outlook: “Getting consistent scoring from the bottom half of our lineup (is important),” Shapcott said. “We have a chance to be a very deep team this year getting scoring from anyone in the lineup.”
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