High School Golf Preview
FAIRFIELD — Banking on the continued success of two experienced veterans, Fairfield Prep boys’ golf coach Bob Bernier is looking for big things from his Jesuits this spring.
Senior Andrew Sciarretta, a three-time All-SCC and two-time All-State performer, will play from the No. 1 position - as he has done for every match of his varsity career - and right behind in the No. 2 spot will be senior Matthew Cesare, who also has played in every varsity match. At the No. 3 spot will be Matthew Schmerzler. All three are tri-captains.
“With the top three players from last year all returning, the hopes are high for continued success,” Bernier wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “We must fill the vacancy from the graduating No. 4 through No. 6 players but there is plenty of talent coming up from last year’s JV team. New candidates have been impressive in tryouts and could fight for a varsity spot in a short time.”
Bernier feels that depth will be a key for Prep while consistency from those new No. 4 to No. 6 spots could be an occasional weakness.
“We are very excited about the potential this team has,” Bernier said. “along with the experience that our captains and returning players can provide. It could be a great year.”
The Jesuits finished in ninth place in the Division I tournament last spring as Sciarretta shot 77 to finish tied for 17th. Schmerzler had an 80 and Cesare shot 82.
Led by three-time SWC medalist Safeem Ahmad, Notre Dame looks to improve on last spring’s 3-13 record, according to head coach Pete Cofrancesco.
The Lancers defeated Stratford (twice) and New Fairfield and were in several other close matches last season, losing to Immaculate and Brookfield by one stroke and falling to Stratford by three shots in another match.
Coach Dan Kelps graduated four starters from last season’s 11-3 squad and looks at this season “as a rebuilding year for our junior varsity and varsity teams.”
“We graduated four starting seniors and lost a returning sophomore, who was our No. 2 player as a freshman, to an injury for the season,” Kleps wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “But we have 24 players trying out for the team. This makes me very enthusiastic about the future.”
Senior Dane Vanderblue, a four-year varsity starter, who averaged 41 last season (with a low round of even-par 36 at Smith Richardson) returns as the Falcons No. 1 player and captain.
“The fact that we have a very young team with limited high school experience will be our weakness this season.” Kleps said. “The coaching staff is looking forward to working with the younger golfers and seeing them step up to the varsity level and make us competitive against the older, more experienced teams.”
The Falcons took 10th place in the CIAC Division I tournament last spring.
“Graduating four seniors, we have just a few seniors with varsity experience,” Shanazu wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “We do have eight seniors on the team and hopefully, we can pick up where we left off and make a strong run into the state tournament.”
The Mustangs finished with a 9-4 mark in the FCIAC and placed 15th in the Division I tournament where Rempe led the Mustangs with an 88.
Head coach Brian Crocker will manage a team with depth and experience as he loses just one starter from a squad that went 3-0-1 in the FCIAC East, tying for first place and finished ninth in the CIAC Division I tournament.
Sophomore Emily Healy, who averaged 49 strokes as a freshman is “ready to step into the No. 1 player role” according to Crocker and right behind her is junior Nadia Caputo (50 stroke average), who has played in every varsity match since her freshman year and senior Erica de la Garrigue (51 stroke average).
“We should seriously compete with the top teams in the FCIAC and CIAC for titles,” Crocker wrote in his prospectus to the Citizen. “We have five to seven players with the ability to shoot 9-hole scores in the 40’s. But we are a young program and there may be some growing pains with nerves with the new players.”
The Mustangs went 6-0-1 last season. In the Division I tournament last spring, Healey had a 99, Caputo shot 102 and de la Garrigue shot 102.
“I am confident that we will compete with the best teams in the state come tournament time,” Crocker wrote. “We have good young freshmen and sophomores that will keep the program strong for years to come.”
“As a new coach in this league, I’m hoping to make sure they enjoy playing the game of golf and good play will come from that,” Halliday wrote in her prospectus to the Citizen. “I’m excited for the season. The team is very cohesive and they do a great job of encouraging each other to play better.”
Bilotto, a senior, and Chan, a sophomore, will be co-captains. Two other players that Halliday is expected to rely on are juniors Alyssa Glucksman and Charlotte Buggy.
“We have two promising freshmen players (Phoebe Burtt and Stephanie Barry) who will be instrumental in the success of the team,” Halliday said. “We have great team spirit, solid leadership from our captains and a real drive to play better golf.”
The Falcons were 2-3 in the FCIAC East, good for third place and were 2-6 overall last spring.