2019 high school boys' and girls' golf preview capsules
ECC DIVISION I
Coach: Rudy Bagos (15th season)
Key returnees: Jr. Evan Kluge, Jr. Ben Bohmbach, So. Matt Orefice, So. Logan Rolfe, So. Ben Orefice.
Top newcomers: Jr. Jack Lebeau, So. Maxon Caron, So. Dan Singer.
Outlook: The Vikings are young with no seniors, but that doesn't matter. They return all but one player from last season's team, which went 16-1 and on the Division I title. Kluge, Bohmbach and Matt Orefice were ECC all-stars while Kluge and Matt Orefice made The Day's All-Area team. Bagos said East Lyme is looking forward to defending its division title and returning to the Division II state tournament. The Vikings play their home matches as Old Lyme Country Club and are joined in Division I this year by Fitch, New London and NFA.
Coach: Glen Graham (15th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Charlie Bresnahan, Sr. Colin Fahey, Sr. Nishant Patel, Jr. Keegan Hawley, Sr. Bret Noreika, Jr. Drew McCormack.
Top newcomers: So. Casey Adams, So. Kevin Dunning, Fr. Jack Kramer.
Outlook: The Falcons went 9-7 last season, qualified for the Division II state tournament, and return six golfers with varsity experience. Fahey was an ECC all-star and won the ECC tournament as a sophomore. Graham is encouraged by a large turnout (21 players) that includes eight freshmen. Fitch plays its home matches at Shennecossett Golf Course.
Coach: Chris Perras (2nd season)
Key returnees: Sr. Andre McClain, Sr. Mekih Rodriguez.
Top newcomers: So. Zach Stock, So. Zach Verraneault, Jr. Kiera Burlingame-McCord, So. Brendan Rideout, Sr. Sean Slusarz, So. Zach Bachofner.
Outlook: Perras begins his second season with a pair of veterans back (McClain and Rodriguez) and a talented group of newcomers, particularly in the sophomore class. There will be more growing pains for the Whalers, but the future looks bright. New London plays its home matches at Great Neck Country Club, which is hosting this year's ECC tournament.
Norwich Free Academy
Coach: Bill Howard (6th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Andrew Gromko, Jr. Seamus Sullivan, Jr. Jackson Guertin.
Top newcomer: Fr. Dylan Krishnan.
Outlook: The Wildcats must replace ECC all-star Warren Strong from a 9-14 team, but three quality players return in Gromko, Sullivan and Guertin. The final two varsity spots are still up in the air, although Krishnan has been a pleasant addition. NFA, which plays its home matches at Norwich Golf Course, hopes to challenge East Lyme for division honors.
ECC DIVISION II
Coach: Scott Smilinich (1st season)
Key returnees: Jr. Grant Hamilton, Sr. Jacob Geary, So. Justin Holland, Sr. Liz Crandall, Sr. Aidan Adams, Sr. Cooper Wall.
Top newcomers: Sr. RJ Parrilla, Fr. Alex Carsten.
Outlook: Smilinich takes over a veteran team that features a strong senior class and a number of veterans returning from a team that went 15-4 and finished second behind ECC and state champion Killingly in Division II. Stonington hopes to challenge the Redmen again this spring. The Bears play their home matches at Elmridge Golf Course.
Coach: Katie Pesko (4th year)
Key returnees: Sr. Ryan Sadosky, Sr. Caroline Petchark, So. Nick Hynes, Jr. Joe Lathrop.
Top newcomers: Fr. Danny Torres.
Outlook: Sadosky, a member of The Day's All-Area team in 2018, returns to lead the Lancers (9-10), who welcome back Petchark, last year's ECC girls' champion who will play on the boys' team in 2019. Hynes and Lathrop also have experience. Waterford plays its home matches at Great Neck Country Club and are joined in the new Division II by Waterford, Killingly and Woodstock.
ECC DIVISION III
Coach: Chris DeLucia (2nd season)
Key returnees: Sr. Jack Minas, So. Gabriel Meyer.
Top newcomers: Fr. Andrew Kortfelt, Fr. Tyler Radford, Fr. Morgun Whittaker, Fr. Liam Cook, Fr. Aaron Muncaster.
Outlook: The Indians must replace Sam Gaboury, an all-state pick, the ECC tournament's co-medalist and The Day's All-Area Player of the Year. They will be a young team, but DeLucia is excited to work with a large freshmen class and still thinks Montville can be competitive in the new Division III, which includes Bacon Academy, Plainfield and Windham. Montville plays its home matches at Norwich Golf Course.
Coach: Tom Allen (20th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Alec Rugh, Sr. Reese Cote, Sr. Lucy Driscoll.
Top newcomers: Jr. Ethan McAvoy, Fr. Alex Whittle.
Outlook: The Eagles have graduated some talented players over the last few seasons, but Allen was pleased to see his returnees bring some new players into the program to help rebuild the program. Allen believes the future is bright for Grasso Tech, which competes in the Connecticut Technical Conference and plays its home matches at Pequot Golf Course.
Coach: Kirk Kaczor (11th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Peter Macadam, Sr. Corey Drummond, Sr. Tom Creagan, Jr. Connor Maguire.
Top newcomers: Sr. Ann Cote, Fr. Pat Flanagan.
Outlook: The Wildcats are coming off another strong season. They finished fourth in the Division IV state tournament that was dominated by the Shoreline Conference (Portland won the team title and Old Saybrook finished third), and return four key players, including Macadam, an all-state and All-Area pick last season, and Drummond, who tied for 10th in the Division IV tourney. Kaczor said Old Lyme, which plays its home matches at Black Hall Club, must develop a solid No. 5 player to make a run at the Shoreline title.
Coach: Jeff Beale (4th season)
Key returnees: Sr. Sarah Johnson, Jr. Mackenzie Allen, Jr. Camryn Price, So. Julia Kahl, So. Angelia Rheaume.
Top newcomers: Fr. Sarah Healy, Fr. Grace Wadsworth, Fr. Sachi Vora.
Outlook: The Vikings, led by captains Johnson and Allen, return a veteran cast with tremendous balance. Johnson was an ECC all-star for East Lyme, which should be competitive with most teams on its schedule. The Vikings play their home matches at Old Lyme Country Club.
Norwich Free Academy
Coach: Bill Howard (1st season)
Key returnees: Sr. Lane Perkins, Sr. Lauren Allen, Jr. Hayley Price, Jr. Lilyana Sherbanee.
Top newcomers: So. Capri Morales, Fr. Keira Kotula.
Outlook: Howard will coach both the boys' and girls' programs at NFA this spring and is excited about the girls' program, which returns four starters from a year ago and hopes to be a factor in the ECC and make a run at qualifying for the state tournament. The Wildcats play their home matches at Norwich Golf Course.
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Ajia Brown scored a game-high 20 with eight rebounds and five steals as second-seeded Fitch used some late turnovers to beat No. 7 New London 43-39, to win its ECC Division I boys' basketball quarterfinal.
Ryan O'Connell scored 21 points and fourth-seeded Waterford topped No. 5 East Lyme 59-50 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the ECC Division I boys' basketball tournament.