...From the pages of Suburban Family Magazine's Spring High School Sports Preview...
Bishop Eustace Crusaders
Players to watch: For the second straight year, the Crusaders were hit hard by graduation, with team MVP Matt Georgetti among the departed. Sophomore Dave Batastini is the leading returner after consistently finishing in the top four and earning all-conference first-team honors as a freshman. Jack Slawski is the lone senior returning and junior Caitlyn Sorrelle is also an experienced veteran. Other golfers who could step up this year are juniors Ryan Stewart and Maddie Saldutti and sophomore Sarah Dziuba.
Outlook: Eustace followed up a remarkable 18-1 season in 2013 with a solid 10-8 campaign last spring that included a third-place finish at sectionals. The Crusaders will again try to stay competitive with a mostly new lineup.
Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
Players to watch: Most of the roster from last year is back for Camden Catholic, including their top two golfers in senior Collin Zelinsky and sophomore Tom Paolini. Zelinsky shot an 88 at the Olympic Conference Championships on his way to second-team honors, and Paolini had a strong showing at the Carl Arena Tournament with an 85. Junior William Wang and senior Patrick Gardner also made the all-conference second team, and junior Nick Bloss is another key returner. Other returners are seniors Marco Spinosi and Kira Kuhar and sophomore Liam Riley.
Outlook: The Fighting Irish went 4-13 in 2014, winning two more matches than the year before and dropping several close matches along the way. With a lot of experience returning, the progress should continue.
Players to watch: Cherokee graduated five of its top six golfers from a team that was one of the best in South Jersey the last two years, including star twin brothers Blaine and Liam Lafferty. The one returner is senior Colin Geary, who was the Burlington County champion and led the Chiefs to the team title. Geary also had a strong performance at the Tournament of Champions, carding a 79, and tied for fifth at the Olympic Conference Tournament to earn all-conference first-team honors. Other returners who could be ready for bigger roles are senior Brennan Appleman, junior Jared Grulke and sophomores Jaden Bell and Brandon Ronquillo.
Outlook: The Chiefs went 15-1 and finished second to conference rival Washington Township at both the Group IV South/Central and state tournaments. They were also Olympic Conference American Division champs. They won’t be at that level after all the losses to graduation, but Geary will be one of the top golfers in South Jersey.
Cherry Hill East Cougars
Players to watch: Three of East’s top four golfers return, including senior Sam Amon, who carded an 85 at the Camden County Tournament, three strokes off the lead. Amon also had a strong showing at the Olympic Conference Tournament with an 82, as did junior Kyle Ungerleider (84) and senior Colton Cardea (86). Other key returners are senior Michael Zilberfarb and juniors Justin Janney and Justin Bryan.
Outlook: The Cougars finished with a 9-10 record and won the team title at the county tournament. Another county championship is possible this season.
Cherry Hill West Lions
Players to watch: The Lions said goodbye to one of the top female golfers in the area and their most consistent scorer in Kyra Denish, but have a strong group of juniors leading the way this year. At the top of that list is Alex Covelli, a strong varsity player since his freshman season who shot an 87 at the Olympic Conference Tournament to earn all-conference second-team recognition. Anthony Bruce and Derrick Chase are other juniors who were regularly in the top four for West.
Outlook: The Lions will look to improve on a 4-14 record as the trio of juniors takes over leadership of the team.
Players to watch: Clearview welcomed in three fabulous freshmen who all made an impact last year and should be in store for big sophomore seasons. Shea Wolfle tied for second at the Tri-County Conference Tournament and finished 10th in the Gloucester County Tournament. Fellow sophomore Billy Edwards had a strong performance at the Carl Arena Tournament, carding an 82, and Jacob Diggons consistently placed in the top four during matches. Senior Mike Hughes and junior David Charles are other top golfers for Clearview, and other returners include junior Dominic Simoni and sophomores Christian Dvorak and Dylan Regan.
Outlook: The Pioneers finished with a solid 13-5 record, took second at the conference tournament for the third straight year and finished third in the county. With the sophomores leading the way, they should be in the mix for conference and county crowns.
Players to watch: Senior Ryan Zinsky will be Eastern’s No. 1 golfer for the second straight year, as he enjoyed several big tournaments in 2014, including a 78 at the Carl Arena Tournament. Seniors Nick Disco and Mike Pilla, junior Aryaman Shanigaram and sophomore Rahil Patel are other important returners. Sophomore Jaymin Kang and senior Max Levin will also look to make an impact.
Outlook: Zinsky leads an experienced group that looks capable of improving on last year’s 3-14 record.
Gloucester Catholic Rams
Players to watch: Senior Connor Goodrich, a two-time Tri-County Conference Tournament champion, returns for the Rams after missing the 2014 season with an injury. He’ll be a huge addition to a team that also features junior Gary Eastlack and senior Austin Regan, who both shot consistently in the low 40s last year. Other returners are seniors Thomas Steen, Rob Horch and Tim O’Shea and sophomore Chris Colman.
Outlook: The Rams had an impressive 10-4 season despite not having Goodrich last year. With him back in the mix, they will be contenders for the Tri-County Conference team championship.
Players to watch: Senior Jake Klaus seems to play his best in the pressure situations, such as last year’s Colonial Conference Tournament, when he shot a 68 for his best round ever and his second straight conference title. He also tied for seventh at the Carl Arena Tournament and will be one of South Jersey’s top golfers this spring. Junior Sam Timonen joined Klaus on the all-conference first team and played well at Carl Arena and the Tournament of Champions. Other returners include seniors Ryan Ciemny and Anthony Ward, junior Craig Melendes and sophomores Rees Kirk and Mary McGuiness.
Outlook: The Bulldawgs went 14-4 and finished second in the state in Group I in a memorable 2014 season. Despite the graduation of South/Central Group I champion Anthony VanDerVort, Klaus and Timonen are a terrific duo that will keep them among the area’s better teams.
Players to watch: The Dragons saw several top golfers graduate, but bring back a key junior in Dan Gable, who carded a 79 to tie for eighth at the Gloucester County Open. He should be the No. 1 golfer for Kingsway. Senior Glen Ivol is also an important returner who was consistently in the top four last year. Christian Cendejas, Matt Pollock and Mike Ranalli are three juniors who could also help this year.
Outlook: The Dragons finished 13-5 last year and placed fifth in the county tourney. Although they have several spots to fill, they should be in store for another successful season.
Players to watch: Junior Erica Han is not only the best female golfer in South Jersey; she’s also proven she can hang with the boys at all of the major tournaments. In addition to winning the South Jersey Ladies Invitational and placing second in the girls Tournament of Champions, Han placed third in the Olympic Conference Tournament to earn first-team honors. She was also the top female competitor at the Carl Arena Tournament with an 82, 11 strokes off the lead. Han forms a strong 1-2 punch with senior Greg Tandourjian, who carded an 87 at Carl Arena and a 76 at the conference tournament for first-team honors. Sophomore Adam Hoversen is coming off a promising freshman year, and other returners are seniors Matt McCarthy and Derek Westhead and sophomore Leo Christou.
Outlook: The Indians went 13-6 in 2014, winning six more matches than the year before, and placed seventh at the Burlington County Open. This season they will be one of the favorites to win the Olympic American, and it will be exciting to see what Han can accomplish on an individual level.
Players to watch: The Moorestown boys team graduated four of its top golfers and will certainly have a new look this season. One of the key returners is junior Eric Piro, who should slide into one of the top positions. Other Quakers with varsity experience are senior Trey Fallows and sophomores Matt Gerber and Shravann Raja. For the girls, seniors Aine Filler (pictured) and Gillian Marini form a fantastic duo at the top of the lineup. Filler finished third at the Central Jersey Girls Golf League Tournament and was the fourth female finisher at the Carl Arena Tournament, two spots ahead of Marini. Other talented returners are senior Michelle Goldberg, juniors Bela Delvadia and Angelica Speer and sophomores Megan Duman and Katelyn Bigley.
Outlook: After finishing with a 14-3 record and placing third in the Burlington County Open team standings, the Moorestown boys will look to stay competitive with a new starring cast. The girls team should remain one of the top teams in their conference.
Moorestown Friends Foxes
Players to watch: George Geertgens had a promising freshman season and will be one of the key golfers for the Foxes. Other experienced players are senior Scott Abrams and sophomores Colin Kirby and Edward Gelernt.
Outlook: The Foxes will not be contenders for the Friends League championship, but they hope to improve throughout the season.
Paul VI Eagles
Players to watch: Paul VI graduated a terrific golfer in Jack Wagner, but have another talented senior leading the way this year in Nick DeMarco. He was an Olympic Conference first-team all-star last year and also shot an 87 at the Camden County Championships, just five strokes off the lead. Seniors Anthony DeStefano and Parker Munns should also find themselves in the top four for the Eagles this season. Other returners are seniors Anthony Leone and Julia Davis and sophomore Mike Everett.
Outlook: The Eagles cruised to a 13-3 overall record and perfect mark in the Olympic National, taking the division title for the first time in more than a decade. It will be difficult to run the table again, but this should be another winning season.
Seneca Golden Eagles
Players to watch: Senior Sam Dion won numerous medalist honors throughout the season for Seneca and took seventh at the Burlington County Open. He also had a solid round of 85 at the Carl Arena Tournament. Other returners are seniors Charlie McKnight, Ashley Peoples and Nick DeSantis, and Todd Jarecki will be looking to crack the starting lineup.
Outlook: The Golden Eagles had a rare losing season in 2014, finishing at 9-11, and will look to get back to their winning ways with Dion leading the way. They’ll get the season started with a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to play in the Palmetto High School Championships from April 2-4.
Players to watch: Shawnee brings back the entire roster from a strong team and has a group of six golfers who can vie for medalist honors in any given match. Junior Kevin Haines seemed to save his best for the major tournaments last year, as he carded a 79 at the Carl Arena Tournament and an 80 at the Olympic Conference Championships, earning all-conference second-team honors. Senior Max Goldstein also made the all-conference second team and was one of three Renegades to shoot in the 80s at Carl Arena, along with talented seniors George Frake III and Max Haggerty. Sophomore Evan McNally and junior Dillon Davis also had several nine-hole rounds in the high 30s or low 40s. Other experienced returners are seniors Rodney Gordon and Tom Wiker; juniors Antonio Forte, Max Ennis, Dylan Tollefson, Zach Michel, Joe Giordano and Brian Guzzi; and sophomores Chris Warner and Cameron Wagner.
Outlook: The Renegades went 13-5 last spring, a four-win improvement from 2013, and look like one of the teams to beat in the Olympic Conference thanks to an experienced and deep group of golfers.
Washington Township Minutemen
Players to watch: Last season was no doubt the best in program history for Washington Township, but the bad news is that six of the top seven golfers from that team graduated, including one of the best in the state in Joe Russo. The lone returner from that group is sophomore Jacob Hanzel, who had an outstanding debut season and will take over as the team’s No. 1. He had the second-lowest match average, carded an 82 at the Tournament of Champions and shot a 79 at the Olympic Conference Championships, good for second-team honors. Returning seniors who could be ready for bigger roles are Nick Sarin, Nico Postiglone and Jim Perry.
Outlook: There wasn’t much the Minutemen didn’t accomplish in 2014. They finished with a 17-2 record and the Group IV state championship, along with titles in South/Central, Carl Arena and Gloucester County, which was their sixth straight. They will drift back to the pack this spring but will still be competitive with Hanzel leading the way.
Click here for team schedules.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Spring Sports Preview, January, 2015.
For more info on Suburban Family Magazine, click here.
For information about advertising in Suburban Family Magazine, click here.
To find out where to pick up your copy of Suburban Family Magazine, click here.