By Joe Ostrica
The Avon Eagles won the Grey Hawk Invitational Aug. 13, took second in the Pioneer Invitational Aug. 14 and won the Ranger Invitational the next day. The Eagles hope this early success will translate into a second-straight West Shore Conference title this season.
The Eagles won the Ranger Invitational thanks to three top 10 finishers, including runner-up Ryan Sikora (74), Vince Mingo (eighth, 78) and Alex Tomko (10th, 79). The Eagles are hoping to repeat as WSC champs this fall after going 14-0 in league play last year.
“Alex and Ryan are our top returning golfers,” Avon head coach Jeff Stevens siad. “First-year senior golfer Vince Mingo has played very well. Juniors Nick DiFilippo, Mike Collins and Matt Jones, along with sophomores Andrew Golik and Mike Raicevich will be competing for the remaining three varsity spots.”
Stevens said his team’s strength is the leadership Tomko and Sikora brings. “They can consistently shoot low scores,” he said. “The kids have worked very hard over the summer and they are seeing their hard work pay off.”
“Our younger guys are doing great but must continue to improve for us to reach our goals as a team. Those goals include another conference championship and to qualify for the district tournament.”
Bay placed eighth out of the 15 teams that competed at the Pioneer Invitational. The Rockets were led by Jack Kyle, who scored a 79, followed by teammates Kevin Keefe (86), Dom Muccio (84), Josiah Strack (90), Don Milkar (95) and Nathan Strack (95).
Lakewood is hoping to improve on its 7-7 finish from last season, which earned them fourth place in the league. Lakewood got off to a rough start last week, placomg 10th at Grey Hawk and 14th at the Ranger Invitational.
“Our top golfer is senior Jacob Zbin,” Lakewood head coach Brian Wisner said. “While he did not have a glittering 2012 high school season, he’s worked very hard this summer, winning and placing in several summer tournament events.
“Our other golfers who should be competitive are junior Maxwell Lavisky, who has played well in two tournaments thus far, and seniors Attison McCarthy, Steven Cross and Darryl Chajon.”
Wisner said his team’s strength is experience, but so far, a lack of consistency has ruined any hope for a solid start to the season.
“Only Lavisky has played to his potential,” Wisner said. “However, I feel the team has one of the better work ethics I’ve had for some time, plus great passion for the game of golf. This is a great combination, and I really feel that despite the rocky start, our best golf lies ahead.
“Realistically, Avon, Rocky River, Midview and North Ridgeville all look better on paper than we do, but I think that we can be a tough opponent for any of them on any given day.”
The North Ridgeville boys golf team finished sixth in the West Shore Conference last year, going 6-8 in league play. Head coach Mike Belpulsi hopes to see the Rangers finish in the top half of the WSC this year.
Senior Dennis Millgard, who landed on the WSC honorable mention last year, and fellow senior Garrett Orseno, are expected to lead the Rangers this fall.
“Dennis and Garrett are two kids who can make it out of sectionals,” Belpulsi said. “I know they would both like to accomplish that this year.”
Orseno was medalist at the Grey Hawk Invitational, pacing all athletes from the 14-team field with a 72. Millgard finished ninth overall with an 82. The next day Orseno shot a 73, just two shy of the medal at the Pioneer Invitational. Millgard shot a 78, while sophomore teammate Tyler Gannon shot an 84. Seniors Dan Musci and Gorden Goodman both finished with 85. Senior Nick Bogner rounded out the scoring with a 94.
Orseno capped the week with another medal, winning his team’s own Ranger Invitational at Avon Oaks with a 67 to help North Ridgeville finish second overall with a final score of 321, just trailing champion Avon (315). Millgard placed fourth overall with a 77.
“We would like to finish in the top half of the WSC,” Belpulsi said. “We need to focus on our short game.”
Rocky River finished 10th out of the 15 teams at the Ranger Invitational. Despite the rough showing, the Pirates did have a strong individual finish by Jackson Farling. Farling finished third overall with a 77.
The Avon Lake Shoremen are hoping to get past Brecksville to take the lead in the Southwestern Conference race. The Shoremen finished second last season with a 6-1 league record.
The Shoremen will have their work cut out for them, after losing Brendan Aussem, Austin Kryc, Clay Sharb, Zach Sharb and Hunter Tharp to graduation. Head coach Amy Manco, now in her 15th year with Avon Lake, said seniors Grant Harley and Josh Currie will be counted on to lead her squad.
“Grant Harley played very well all year in 2012,” Manco said. “He can shoot low on a consistent basis. Josh was a consistent sixth-man last year. We think we should be competitive throughout conference play. We are looking for some solid performances from our two returning letter winners. But we are hopeful with some of our new additions to the varsity squad.”
Manco said junior A.J. Outcalt and senior Jake Warnica have had great summer’s and preseasons. Seniors Blake Taylor and Jason Hessel and juniors Colin MacGeorge, Nick Lamb and Kyle Robinson are all contenders for a varsity spot.
“We do not have much experience at varsity play, but many of these guys play in summer tourneys and have improved their games,” Manco said. “We need to work on consistency in scores which means avoiding the big numbers on a hole.”
Westlake finished third overall at the Ranger Invitational with a 328, followed by Avon Lake at fourth (329). Olmsted Falls followed with a 337 to take fifth place. Bulldog Alex Torress finished fifth overall with a 78. North Olmsted took 11th out of the 15 with a 354.
Westlake finished 4-3 in the SWC last year. The Demons are without six seniors from last year’s roster, including district qualifiers Connor Evans and Matt Leonard. Westlake coach Brendan Zepp said seniors Charlie Baddour and
Pranay Arora should be among his team’s leaders.
“Our Season has started off well with win at North Olmsted Invitational,” Zepp said. “We hope to compete for the SWC title. In addition to Baddour and Arora, we have brothers Frank and Patrick Stefen. With freshmen Nick Wilson, Jules Blakely and Ellis Langermeir, the Demons have reloaded and are ready to compete. All of the can compete at very high level.”
Competing in the Patriot Athletic Conference, Lutheran West would love to improve on last year’s third-place 6-2 finish in league play. Head coach Mike Waugh has a roster that includes seniors Robert Konstan and Nolan Zubin and juniors Eric Myers, Keaton Gossman and Jacob Brady.
“This year’s team is the deepest team from spots one through five that Lutheran West has had since 2009,” Waugh said. “Right now our focus is to increase greens in regulation and bring the putting totals down.
“Each player has a number of statistics that they are tracking each year and look to achieve those goals and break those personal records every time they step onto the course.”
The Longhorns placed third overall at the Grey Hawk Invitational with a 341.
Konstan finished with a 79, followed by Myers (88), Grossman (83), Zubin (91) and
Waugh said the team goals are the same every year, no matter the strength of the team, and include a conference championship, sectional championship, district championship and to place in state.
“Success for Lutheran West isn’t just measured in wins and losses,” Waugh said. “While success on the course is important to our team, equally important goals for us include having respect for each golfer on the team, no matter his or her talent-level, having respect for coaches and parents, and developing a deeper understanding of how faith and golf are connected and can equate to success in their personal lives as well as their roles as members of the golf team.