The upcoming boys golf season will bring a wide range of expectations among the six local teams, ranging from rebuilding to championship aspirations.
Southington and Berlin figure to be in contention for their respective state tournaments, with the Redcoats coming off a season where they finished as the runner-up in Division II.
No matter the group expectation, each school has individual talents that will be worth watching when the season opens.
Here is a closer look at each:
Head coach: Bob Zadrozny (14th season)
Last year: 7-10
Key loss: Tim Carrier
Key returnees: Dylan Washington (senior), Manny Benetiez (senior), Arthur Bell (junior), Brandon Carlina (junior), Nate Czeremcha (sophomore, Royce Wasik (sophomore)
Outlook: New Britain is hoping to see continued improvement this season with Washington, Bell and Carlina all having gained valuable experience at the varsity level last season. To go along with the three upperclassmen, head coach Bob Zadrozny will bee lookng for Benitez, Czeremcha and Waskit to contribute as the season goes along. It should be an interesting season to watch.
Head coach: John Line (12th season, 247-45-3)
Last year: 19-7, 2nd in Division II state tournament
Key loss: Mike McCarthy
Key returnees: John Downes (sr.), Jacob Lindsay (so.), Matt Czerepuszko (sr.), Paul Calafiore (sr.)
Outlook: Jacob Lindsay leads a group of promising golfers for the Redcoats this year, after the sophomore shined in his first year at Berlin by earning All-State honors and finishing 20th at the State Open.
The Redcoats graduated just one starter after finishing as the runner-up in Division II, so expect to see them back in contention this spring, armed with three of their four all-conference selections back, with Mike McCarthy being the only exception.
Head coach: Jayson Barbarotta (4th season)
Last year: 6-11
Key loss: Cole Pratte
Key returnees: Jake Irons (sr.), Michael Patnode (sr.), Brian Turgeon (jr.)
Outlook: The Indians knew they lost a lot of talent heading into the 2018 season, including three four-year starters, and it showed on the course. Newington managed six wins in 2018 compared to 16 in 2017, which included a top-10 finish in the state tournament.
One year wiser, the Indians’ young core will look to continue its growth and work its way back to the Newington team of two years ago.
Head coach: Jim DiNello (13th season, 117-69-7)
Last year: 12-4-1, tied for 12th in Division I state tournament
Key losses: Cam Zegrzdyn, C.J. McManus
Key returnees: Max Chubet (jr., all-conference), Austin Carta (jr., all-conference), Shawn McKnerney (jr.), Jake Napoli (jr.), Colby Zegrzdyn (sr.), Cory Hemsen (sr.)
Outlook: The Blue Knights have been a model of consistency over the past decade-plus, earning their 13th consecutive state tournament appearance last season thanks to five all-conference selections, two of whom went on to compete at the State Open in Max Chubet and Cam Zegrzdyn.
Zegryzden was lost to graduation, but Southington is still loaded with talent. Yet so is the rest of Division I, so the Blue Knights will have to be their best.
Head coach: Brendan King (6th season)
Last year: 5-10
Key losses: Zach Bartolini, Logan Manger, Christian Zamudio
Key returnees: Jacob Deschaine, Alan Nilson
Outlook: The Blue Devils enter the season heavy with youth, fielding a group of nine golfers that include five sophomores, three freshmen and one junior.
In what will likely be a year for growth, look for the Blue Devils to potentially have a strong second half to the season as their young core starts to settle down.
Head coach: Jeff Bemis
Last year: 5-8-1
Key losses: Josh Donaghy, Farrell Leardi, Jackson Collin, Logan Stine
Key returnees: Xavier Irizarry (sr.), Eric Meskiman (jr.)
Outlook: The Gladiators returned almost all of their golfers after a 1-15 season in 2017, but they won’t have that luxury this year, as four key contributors to the team have graduated.
After a drastic improvement on the course last spring, Goodwin Tech will have to find a way to draw production from its younger golfers if it wants to continue its upward trend.