NEW BRITAIN - This season will be about getting better for area boys golf teams, but the teams are each in different stages of contending.
Berlin finished last season with the most wins out of the area teams, ending its year with a 17-11 record and a ninth place finish in the Division II state tournament. The Redcoats have a strong veteran class and are looking to be top contenders in the CCC and state tournaments.
Newington also had a successful season as it finished 16-8 during the regular season and tied for eighth in the Division I state tournament. This year the goals are the same for the Indians - finish the season with a winning record and make it back to the state tournament.
Southington finished its season at the .500 mark. Although it wasn’t a losing season, it took a step backward from the year before. The Blue Knights finished 13th during the Division I state tournament and this year they’re looking for a higher placement.
As for New Britain, Plainville and Goodwin Tech, each team finished below the .500 mark last season. This year the teams are just looking forward to improvement. Although each team lost a few players, there is still plenty of talent left, including some underclassmen that will have the opportunity to step up.
Here’s a closer look at the teams:
Head Coach: Bob Zadrozny (13th season)
Last Year: 4-10
Key Losses: Jack D’Alfonso, Niko Fusco, Jake Levesque
Key Returners: Tim Carrier (senior), Johnny Morell (sophomore)
Newcomers to Watch: Arthur Bell (sophomore), Manny Benitez (junior), Aiden Falla (sophomore)
Outlook: This season, the New Britain boys golf team will be leaning on its more experienced players, Tim Carrier and Johnny Morell. Carrier will also be providing leadership as the team’s lone senior. As for the other returnees, Arthur Bell, Manny Benitez and Aiden Falla, it will be about continuing to improve and develop each day.
Newcomer and sophomore Brandon Carlina may also see some action on the greens this season, as he has been showing promise during early practices. The Hurricanes are young, but looking to gain valuable experience early on.
New Britain’s overall goals are to improve daily in what should be a competitive season in the CCC South.
Head Coach: John Line (11th season)
Last Year: 17-11, placed ninth at the Division II state tournament
Key Losses: none
Key Returnees: Mike McCarthy (senior), John Downes (junior), Paul Calafiore (junior), Matt Czerepuszko (junior)
Outlook: Berlin has always had a good golf program and will look to continue its strong play once again this season. The Redcoats have plenty to be excited about.
After a top 10 finish in the state tournament last year, Berlin brings back many of its key players from a year ago. The Redcoats were fortunate enough to not suffer any significant losses from last season, meaning they should bring plenty of experience to the links against some tough competition.
Senior Mike McCarthy will be leading the way for Berlin this year. He has developed a passion for golf and has improved every year, including a top 30 individual finish at the state tournament in 2017.
Head Coach: Jayson Barbarotta (3rd season)
Last Year: 16-3, tied for 8th at Division I state tournament
Key Losses: Noah Hedberg, Matthew Roberts, Maxwell Turgeon, Benjamin Weyman
Key Returners: Jake Irons (junior), Michael Patnode (junior), Cole Pratte (senior), Brian Turgeon (junior)
Outlook: For the Indians, this season will be about the returning players taking over new roles, particularly at the top of the lineup.
Newington lost three four-year starters that as a group won 68 matches and played in four state tournaments. Noah Hedberg, Matthew Roberts, Maxwell Turgeon and Benjamin Weyman were all-conference and named All-State at least once.
Although the Indians lost a good deal of talent and experience, they still have a core group of young players who have plenty of experience themselves and continue to develop every day. Both Cole Pratte and Brian Turgeon finished in the top 100 of the state tournament last season.
It might be a bit challenging in the beginning of the season, but head coach Jayson Barbarotta is looking forward to getting out on the course and watching his team grow.
Head Coach: Jim DiNello (12th season)
Last Year: 8-8, placed 13th at the Division I state tournament
Key Losses: Nate L’Hereaux, Mike Zera, Jack Mindek
Key Returners: Cam Zegrdryn (senior), C.J. McManus (senior), Colby Zegrdyn (junior), Max Chubet (sophomore), Austin Carta (sophomore), Shawn McKerney (sophomore)
Outlook: After some ups and downs last season, Southington will be looking get back on track this year. The Blue Knights will have to overcome the losses of All-CCC golfer Nate L’Hereaux and Mike Zera, two of last season’s top three varsity players.
Southington, however, does have reason for optimism will plenty of talent returning. With a good mixture of veteran and young golfers, the Blue Knights will attempt to make their 12th consecutive state tournament appearance, while being highly competitive in the conference in the process.
Max Chubet and C.J. McCamus will be two of the Southington golfers to watch. Both finished in the top 50 individually in the state tournament last season and with that experience, should be even better this year.
Head Coach: Brendan King (5th season)
Last Year: 2-13
Key Returnees: Zach Bartolini (senior), Christian Zamudio (senior)
Outlook: For a Plainville team looking to bounce back after a rough 2017 campaign, this year might once again be about key individual performances.
With their top two golfers being seniors, the Blue Devils will have some veterans to rely on and help the younger golfers along the way. There will be some young golfers for the team this season. Plainville will have four freshmen who will have to step into the lineup throughout the year and get some experience.
Head coach: Jeffrey Bemis (9th season)
Last year: 1-15
Key losses: none
Key returnees: Josh Donaghy, Farrell Leardi, Xavier Irizarry, Hunter Holley, Eric Meskimen
Outlook: Much like Plainville, this season will more than likely be about developing the younger golfers and solo performances for Goodwin Tech than it will be about winning matches.
The good news is the Gladiators bring back a handful of golfers who have gained some valuable varsity time and know what to expect. They also didn’t lose any key contributors, which should help.
Plus, after only winning one match last season, the only place Goodwin Tech can go is up.