2013 High School Golf Preview

Nick Kamireddy is back for his senior season at Norwich Free Academy. He helped lead the Wildcats to the Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division title last season.
Nick Kamireddy is back for his senior season at Norwich Free Academy. He helped lead the Wildcats to the Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division title last season. Day file photo

Boys

ECC Large

EAST LYME

Coach: Rudy Bagos (9th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Francis Shields, Jr. Drew Bradley, Jr. Connor Callaghan, Jr. Zach Kosokowsky, Jr. Dinkar Ahuja, Jr. Ross Krasner.

Top newcomers: Jr. Andrew Lorah, So. Ryan Tobin, So. Mike Fenn.

Outlook: Shields returns as the Vikings' No. 1 player and captain on a team Bagos calls "the deepest we've been in five years," with several players back that have significant varsity experience from last year's 11-6 team.

FITCH

Coach: Glen Graham (9th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Jimmy Fiftal, Sr. Ian Boyd, Jr. Corey Jones, Jr. Trey Hogsten, So. Luke Teixeira.

Top newcomers: Jr. Dakota Dickson, Fr. Kyle Musella.

Outlook: With five varsity players returning, Fitch (4-12) looks to be competitive in a very talented ECC Large Division.

NEW LONDON

Coach: Tom Rafferty (7th season).

Key returnees: Jr. Chris Mones, So. Bronson Carter.

Top newcomers: So. Christian Pederson, Fr. Jordan Rodgers.

Outlook: Rafferty feels the future looks bright for a young New London team.

NFA

Coach: Bob McPhail (28th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Nick Kamireddy, Sr. Billy Wallace, Jr. Justin Bohara, Jr. Frankie Lee.

Top newcomers: Jr. Dan Bilda, Jr. Matt Perras, So. Brendan Sullivan.

Outlook: The Wildcats (16-3) expect to defend their ECC Large Division championship and qualify again for the state tournament. Kamireddy and Bohara, who play at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, were All-ECC selections last season. After two years at Norwich Golf Course, NFA returns to the Mohegan Sun Country Club as its home course. The Wildcats will host the 41st Wildcat Invitational on May 13.

ECC Medium

LEDYARD

Coach: Eric Van Frachen (11th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Mitch Allen, Sr. Colton Day, Sr. Logan Stoiber, Sr. David Eichelberg, Sr. Mike Martin, Sr. Gabby Dubuc, Jr. Mike Graff, Jr. Christian Allyn, Jr. Pat Brown, Jr. Evan DelGrosso, Jr. Ashley Brannan, So. Jack Gabriel, So. Kyle Scanlon.

Outlook: Ledyard's large crew of returning golfers have Van Frachen believing the team will be competitive in all its matches and vie for the Medium Division title (Windham is the defending league champ). "I think as long as we continue to improve and play smart, we will challenge for the ECC Medium Division crown," the coach said.

STONINGTON

Coach: Art Howe (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Chris Bovino, Sr. Seth Fiola, Sam Ognisty, Jr. Adrian DePietro, Jr. Joel Nelson, So. Noah Blanchette, So. Rachel Shaw.

Top newcomers: Jr. AJ Cordeiro, Fr. Tyler Snelgrove, Fr. Peter Holliman.

Outlook: Howe expects this season to be challenge. The Bears (14-6) have limited experience but return Bovino, who's expected to be one of the top golfers in the ECC. Ognisty and Nelson also will be counted on in the top five.

WATERFORD

Coach: Rik Little (2nd season).

Key returnees: Sr. Tyler Goddu, Sr. Mike Crowley, Sr. Ryan Brasel, Sr. Andrew Frascarelli, Jr. Mitch Mirabito, So. Matt Shea, So. Chris Pederson.

Top newcomers: Sr. Jake Henry.

Outlook: The Lancers (9-6) suffered heavy losses, including All-ECC golfer Nick Hedden. The top five will consist of at least three untested golfers competing in a difficult division.

ECC Small

MONTVILLE

Coach: Pat Kelly (10th season).

Key returnees: Sr. John Delaney, Sr. Paul Hanrahan, So. Ben Reed, So. Corey Meigs.

Top newcomers: Sr. Zach Meng, Jr. Bennett Stackpole, So. Ryan Turney.

Outlook: The Indians (6-9) return four varsity golfers, as Delaney, Hanrahan, Reed and Meigs will play in the top four. Montville's goal is to win the division and qualify for the state tournament.

ST. BERNARD

Coach: Scott Harger (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Dylan Julain, Sr. Zach Belisle, Sr. Adam Arundel, Sr. Joe Granatosky, Jr. Shamus Fox.

Outlook: The Saints (7-13) have big holes to fill after losing their No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 golfers. Julain was one of the better golfers in the ECC Small last season.

Others

GRASSO TECH

Coach: Bill Paradis (23rd season), Thomas Allen (15th season).

Key returnees: Steve Robarge, Trevor Hutchinson, Steve Kral, Justin Van Dyke, Sam Denard, Ryan Pendleton.

Top newcomers: Nick Dittner, Dawson Gibson, Colby Walker, Paul Georgetti.

Outlook: After a succesful season in 2012, the Eagles are looking for what their coaches believe will be the best team in more than a decade, led by Robarge, a state qualifier as an individual last year in the Division III tournament. In order to improve, the coaches have expanded the schedule to include a few extra tournament entries.

NORWICH TECH

Coach: Thomas Wainwright (13th season).

Key returnees: Alex Valdes, Ackens King, Sheyanne Biltcliffe, Josh Gilot, Joey Bacon.

Top newcomers: Steve Duhamel-LaGram, Jacob Hoadley.

Outlook: Without any seniors, this will be a rebuilding year. Valdes, last year's second best scorer, will lead the way. With substantial improvements, the Warriors might have a winning record.

OLD LYME

Coach: Kirk Kaczor (6th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Matti Fuller, Sr. Travis Russell, Sr. Paul Burdick, Sr. George Logan.

Top newcomers: Sr. Seb Bakoledis, Jr. Jake Tiffany, So. Rowan Hallahan.

Outlook: Fuller, an all-state golfer, leads a group of talented seniors. There isn't much depth but the top four have a lot of experience. The Wildcats hope to contend in the Shoreline Conference and in the state tournament.

Girls

EAST LYME

Coach: Rudy Bagos (1st season).

Top newcomers: Jr. Rachel Vandale, Jr. Regan Ewald, So. Ava Williams, So. Kyla Henry, So. Kyle Ewald, Fr. Kaihly Rafferty, Fr. Maggie Powers, Fr. Theresa Durkee, Fr. Madison Carter.

Outlook: Barbara Wilson, now graduated, was the ECC girls' champion a year ago, shooting a 5-over-par 41 at Quinnatisset Country Club for a three-shot victory. But the Vikings have never had a full girls' team until now. Bagos, the boys' coach, and assistant coach Jeff Beale will juggle their schedules when both teams have matches on the same day, Bagos said, such as today when Bagos will coach the boys in their match at Old Lyme Country Club, while Beale will travel with the girls to their away match against Hand. "We are young, but the girls are very excited," Bagos said. "I think once they get a few matches under their belt, they can be competitive."

NORWICH FREE ACADEMY

Coach: Bob Rothstein (7th season).

Key returnees: Sr. Kendall Simmons, Sr. Emalee Shrewsbury, Jr. Katie Strickland, Jr. Madeline Bennett, Jr. Anna Estrada, Jr. Kim Postler.

Top newcomers: Sr. Margaret Sullivan, Jr. Angelina Duddie, Jr. Sydney Mauer, Jr. Kiera Sullivan, So. Yuri Choi.

Outlook: Losing four of its top five golfers will make defending the ECC crown, which the Vikings took over Woodstock Academy and Bacon Academy last season, a challenge. Having a big crop of newcomers will help.

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