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2021 H.S. golf preview capsules

BOYS

ECC Division I

East Lyme

Coach: Rudy Bagos (16th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Dan Singer, Sr. Matt Orefice, Sr. Logan Rolfe, Sr. Max Caron.

Top newcomers: Sr. Graham Mundell, Sr. Dylan Brown, Jr. Pat Kelly.

Outlook: The Vikings expect to challenge for an ECC title following a year off and return not only an experienced roster but a senior-laden group throughout the lineup.

Fitch

Coach: Glen Graham (17th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Casey Adams, Jr. Nate McCormack, Jr. Jack Kramer, Jr. Elliot Reese.

Top newcomers: So. Ryan Carney, Jr. Jack Nystrom, Sr. Juliet Kotfer, Sr. Michael Luzzio, Fr. Brooklyn Steeds, Fr. Jeffrey Meuse, Fr. Charlie Bergendahl.

Outlook: The Falcons, who finished second in the ECC Division I race in 2019 before having the 2020 season canceled, return three varsity players from that team and Graham expects to be competitive in the division again. But more than anything else, Graham said, "We're looking forward to returning to the golf courses for our season."

Montville

Coach: Chris DeLucia (3rd season)

Key returnees: Jr. Morgun Whittaker, Jr. Grant Kortfelt, Jr. Tyler Radford, Jr. Aaron Muncaster, Jr. Liam Cook.

Top newcomer: Jr. Cameron Dececco.

Outlook: Despite not playing in 2020, the Indians return four of five starers from the 2019 season when Montville qualified for the Division III state tournament. The Indians, who will be led by Whittaker, move up to Division I in the ECC this spring and DeLucia is looking forward to the competition.

New London

Coach: AJ Turnier (1st season)

Key returnee: Sr. Zach Stock.

Outlook: Turnier takes over for the Whalers and faces the challenge of a complete rebuild with several players completely new to the game. "I already see positives coming from practice," Turnier said. "We have a hard-working group, and we're having fun in the process of learning the game."

NFA

Coach: William Howard (25th season)

Key returnees: Jr. Kyle Sikorski, Jr. Chris Dooley.

Top newcomers: So. Costa Kapiltois, Fr. Max Weston, Fr. Liam O'Neil.

Outlook: The Wildcats graduated most of their varsity roster, but Howard said even though NFA will be inexperienced, "we are talented and full of potential." He's already seen the improvement of Sikorski and Dooley since their freshman seasons and his younger players have great promise.

Stonington

Coach: Scott Smilinich (3rd season)

Key returnees: Sr. Justin Holland, Sr. John Cunningham, Jr. Alex Carsten.

Top newcomers: Jr. Drew Johnson, So. Cam O'Connor, So. Noah Bosse, So. Dylan Flack, So. Brandon Tavares.

Outlook: After losing the 2020 season, the Bears must replace their entire starting lineup, meaning sophomores will play prominent roles with the returning golfers. "Every spot on the team is open for competition," said Smilinich. "We have a large group of young, talented golfers who will compete to fill out the roster."

Waterford

Coach: Katie Pesko (5th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Nick Hynes, Jr. Danny Torres.

Top newcomers: Jr. Nick Pisani, Fr. Jacob Beardsley.

Outlook: The Lancers graduated two terrific players in Ryan Sadosky and Caroline Petchark, but Hynes and Torres provide experience and talent at the top of the lineup. "A significant portion of my season goals include helping the younger, less experienced players learn the fundamentals," said Pesko, "as well as supporting the veterans who have experienced playing to improve their skills."

Wheeler

Coach: Carl Weber (13th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Sam Taylor, Sr. Colby Sadowski.

Top newcomers: Fr. Gavin Arruda, Fr. Keiran Boscoe, Fr. Cameron Conway, Fr. Tyler Signor, So. Brady Sadowski, Fr. Jaustin Gudbrandsen, Fr. Will Raggon.

Outlook: Taylor is the only player with significant varsity experience, but Weber is excited about the opportunity to build the program around a large freshman class. "We will rely on them to fill out the varsity roster," he said.

ECC Division II

Bacon Academy

Coach: Craig Kupper (4th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Lucas Baldinger, Sr. David Tremblay.

Top newcomers: Jr. Nate Harasimowitz, So. Connor Tuttle, Fr. John Ceruti, So. Robert June.

Outlook: Seniors Baldinger and Tremblay are two experienced players who lead the Bobcats this season and will help acclimate the younger players to the golf courses around the ECC. Kupper said he expects immediate contributions from Harasimowitz, Tuttle and Ceruti.

Griswold

Coach: Paul Richards (39th year)

Key returnees: Sr. Matthew Ladd, Sr. Logan Richards.

Top newcomers: Fr. Lucas Hanley, Jr. Ryan Fasula.

Outlook: The Wolverines must replace No. 1 golfer Koby Hagstrom and, after a year off, Richards sees Griswold as team that will need time to develop. "We will have a lot of individual progress goals," he said, "but we're happy to have a season and the student-athletes out for a sport."

Others

Grasso Tech

Coach: Thomas Allen (22nd season)

Key returnees: Richard Dunn, Gabriel Desrosiers-Barry, Alexander Whittle.

Top newcomers: Charles Morrison, Nolan Blewitt, Nathan Sylvestre.

Outlook: The Eagles have a bright future with a solid freshman class joining the program. Allen credits his older players with "recruiting players from the student body," and he is excited to get back to work and put the building blocks into place in the Connecticut Technical Conference.

Norwich Tech

Coach: Wally Anderson (3rd season)

Key returnee: Sr. Vincent Salvatore.

Top newcomers: So. Fletcher Balaro, Sr. Joshua James, So. Zach Lamitie, So. Joshua Lavender.

Outlook: The Warriors return only one golfer after the year off, so it will be a rebuilding year behind a large sophomore class. Still, Anderson expects Norwich Tech to be competitive in the Connecticut Technical Conference.

Old Lyme

Coach: Kirk Kaczor (13th season)

Key returnees: Jr. Patrick Flanagan.

Top newcomers: Jr. Aden Wilson, Sr. Gavin Porter, Sr. Michael Cushman, Jr. Andrew Hedberg, So. Alex Chrysoulakis.

Outlook: Kaczor has one of the smallest rosters during his tenure (nine players) and an inexperienced team with only Flanagan, who will play at No. 1, a returning varsity player. He was No.  5 as a freshman for the Wildcats, who play in the competitive Shoreline Conference. "We hope we can build something as the season goes on and hopefully qualify for states," Kaczor said.

GIRLS

East Lyme

Coach: Pete Barry (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. Julia Kahl, Sr. Angelia Rheaume, Jr. Sarah Healy.

Top newcomers: Fr. Georgia Anglin, Fr. Kayli Johns, Fr. Lola Hoffer.

Outlook: Barry takes over a program that returns three veterans in Kahl, Rheaume and Healy. That will be key as three freshmen learn the ropes and gain experience to help keep the Vikings competitive in the ECC.

Bacon Academy

Coach: Kevin Fennell (6th season)

Key returnees: Jr. Gianna Duckworth.

Top newcomers: Sr. Emma Hajdasz, Sr. Olivia Paoli, Fr. Mia Belcamino.

Outlook: Duckworth played behind three seniors when the Bobcats last played in 2019 and will take over the No. 1 spot, although Hajdasz, who played baseball as a freshman and sophomore, has the talent to play at a high level and provide leadership. Belcamino has also impressed Fennell with her detail to fundamentals in the preseason. "I'm excited to see how this team comes together over the duration of the season," he said.

NFA

Coach: William Howard (3rd season)

Key returnees: Sr. Capri Morales, Jr. Keira Kotula, Jr. Caitlin Daley.

Outlook: Morales and Kotula were regulars in the lineup two years ago when NFA last played while Daley worked her way into the varsity lineup during the season. Howard's job now is to work with a group of promising young players and see where they can fit into the lineup and keep the Wildcats competitive.

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