H.S. golf / 2018 boys' and girls' preview capsules
ECC Division I
Coach: Rudy Bagos (14th year)
Key returnees: So. Evan Kluge, So. Ben Bohmbach, So. Kyle Feeney, Sr. Quenten Dean.
Top newcomers: Fr. Matt Orefice, Fr. Ben Orefice, Fr. Logan Rolfe, Fr. Max Caron.
Outlook: The Vikings went 10-8 a year ago, finishing second in the division behind NFA. Bagos said the 2018 edition is young, featuring a number of freshmen and sophomores, so there will be some growing pains this spring, but the future is definitely bright beyond 2018. East Lyme plays its home matches at Old Lyme Country Club.
Coach: Glen Graham (14th year)
Key returnees: Jr. Charlie Bresnahan, Jr. Colin Fahey, Jr. Nishant Patel, So. Keegan Pierce, Sr. Ryan Sherman, So. Bret Noreika.
Outlook: The Falcons, who were 4-12 a year ago, hope to have a winning season and even contend for Division I honors with the return of six varsity golfers. The list of returnees includes Fahey, who pulled off the biggest surprise of the 2017 season when he fired a two-over-par 73 to win individual honors in the ECC tournament on his home course, Shennecossett Golf Course in Groton.
Coach: Chris Perras (1st year)
Key returnees: Jr. Andre McClain, Jr. Mekih Rodriguez.
Top newcomers: Jr. Menelik Nesmith, Jr. Bailey Sullivan, Sr. Elizanette Castillo, Jr. Messiah Swift.
Outlook: Perras takes over a young team that will lean on the experience of returning varsity players McClain and Rodriguez. After going 4-11 in 2017, Perras said the goal is to "build a strong foundation for the future." New London plays its home matches at Great Neck Country Club in Waterford.
Coach: Bill Howard (5th year)
Key returnees: Sr. Warren Strong, So. Seamus Sullivan, Jr. Andrew Gromko.
Top newcomers: Sr. Zeigh Perry, Sr. Adam Danis.
Outlook: The Wildcats went 14-4 overall a year ago and won the Division I title with a perfect record (6-0), but graduated all five varsity starters. Despite those losses, NFA still has some talented golfers and Howard believes his team can still be competitive in the division. NFA plays its home matches at Norwich Golf Course.
ECC Division II
Coach: Chris DeLucia (1st year)
Key returnees: Sr. Sam Gaboury, Jr. Jack Minas.
Top newcomers: Sr. Raymundo Biga, Sr. Ethan Couillard, Sr. Joseph Faulise, Sr. Karl Siismets.
Outlook: DeLucia, one of the region's top amateur golfers, takes over a Montville program that went 11-6 a year ago. Gaboury and Minas are the only returnees and DeLucia expects Gaboury to contend for an ECC title. The Indians play their home matches at Norwich Golf Course.
Coach: Art Howe (12th year)
Key returnees: Sr. Jack Glenn, So. Grant Hamilton, Sr. Ryan Fornara, Jr. Cooper Wall, Jr. Aidan Adams, Jr. Liz Crandall, Jr. Caleb Silvia, Jr. Jacob Geary, Jr. Nick Turco, So. Trevor Fornara.
Top newcomers: Fr. John Cunningham, Fr. Justin Holland, Fr. Gianni Rotella, Fr. Aiden Turner.
Outlook: The Bears went 13-3 a year ago and qualified for the state tournament. That remains the goal this season, despite some big graduation losses, including No. 1 player Jack Ognisty. Howe does return four players with varsity experience, and expects some of his younger players to play key roles this spring. Stonington plays its home matches at Elmridge Golf Course in Stonington.
Coach: Katie Pesko (3rd year)
Key returnees: Jr. Ryan Sadosky, Sr. Bruce Taggart.
Top newcomers: Fr. Nick Hynes, So. Joe Lathrop.
Outlook: Sadosky will play in the No. 1 position and Taggart at No. 2 for the Lancers, who graduated two starters from a team that tied for fourth in the ECC tournament. If Waterford can improve and gain consistency in the final three varsity spots, it should be another solid season. The Lancers play their home meets at Great Neck Country Club.
ECC Division III
Coach: Carl Weber (10th year)
Key returnees: Sr. Cody Johnson, Jr. Alec Rustici.
Top newcomers: Jr. Samson Hauptmann, Jr. Jordan Williams, Jr. Ryan Hare, Jr. Seth Kosztala, Fr. Sam Taylor, Fr. Colby Sadowski, Jr. Kris Pesante, Jr. Zach Munzer.
Outlook: The Lions won the ECC Division III title a year ago and qualified for the Division IV state tournament, but graduated their top four players. Wheeler will lean on the experience of veterans Johnson and Rustici to lead a young roster this spring. The Lions play their home matches at Stonington Country Club.
Coach: Thomas Allen (20th year)
Key returnees: Sr. Matthew Woodall, Fr. Ryan Smelser, Sr. Hunter Brazee.
Top newcomers: So. Gabriel Pardini, So. David Pons, So. Adam Riffe, So. Thomas Riffe, Fr. Richard Dunn.
Outlook: Grasso Tech's veteran players went out and recruited some new players from the hallways, so the Eagles will rebuild this spring with a young team with a goal of building for the future. Grasso, which plays its home matches at Pequot Golf Course in Stonington, will also be part of a new league (Connecticut Technical Conference).
Coach: Kirk Kaczor (11th year)
Key returnee: Jr. Peter Macadam.
Top newcomers: Jr. Corey Drummond, Jr. Pat Looney, So. Connor Maguire.
Outlook: Despite losing four varsity golfers, including two-time all-state selection Graham Aird, Kaczor is encouraged by what he has seen from some of his young players in the preseason. "We have a group of younger players eager to make their mark," said Kaczor, whose Wildcats make their home in the always competitive Shoreline Conference. Old Lyme plays at Black Hall Club in Old Lyme.
Coach: Jeff Beale (3rd year)
Key returnees: Jr. Sarah Johnson, So. Mackenzie Allen, So. Cam Price.
Top newcomer: Fr. Julia Kahl.
Outlook: The Vikings hope to build off of a solid third-place finish in last year's ECC tournament as they will be led by Johnson, the team captain, and returning varsity place-winners Allen and Price. "Last year's team showed tremendous growth from March to May," Beale said. "This year's group hopes to do the same." East Lyme plays its home matches at Old Lyme Country Club.
Coach: Jeff Brown (3rd year)
Key returnees: Jr. Lane Perkins, Jr. Jill Irvine, Jr. Ivy Chen, So. Haley Price, So. Lilyana Sherbanee.
Top newcomers: Sr. Bailey Hosko, Jr. Lauren Allen.
Outlook: The Wildcats return all five varsity players from a year ago and Brown said the entire team has put in plenty of work in the preseason as it looks to improve this spring. Chen was an ECC all-star a year ago. NFA plays its home matches at Norwich Golf Course.
Coach: Katie Pesko (3rd year)
Key returnees: Jr. Caroline Petchark, Sr. Sydney Tabor, Sr. Sydney Hauser.
Outlook: Petchark finished second and Tabor fourth a year ago in helping the Lancers place second in the ECC tournament behind Woodstock. Hauser also brings experience to the No. 3 spot, so if some new golfers can step in and learn from their experienced teammates, they should remain a solid contender in the ECC. Waterford plays at Great Neck Country Club.