BOYS

JIM THORPE

Head coach Mike Spirk (Second season)

Assistant coach Keith Boyer

Last year's record 5-8 overall

League Schuylkill League Division 1

Home course Mahoning Valley Country Club

Key losses Ben Stermer (79.0 ave. in 2009)

Key returnees Dean DiBonifazio (Sr.), Kevin Jaskot (Sr.), Mitch Hoffman (Jr.)

Others to watch Phil Slack (Sr.), Bill Sloss (Jr.), Tyler McGeehan (So.), Jake McGeehan (Fr.)

Strengths DiBonifazio (81.4 ave. in 2009), Jaskot and Hoffman give the Olympians three solid returnees to build around. Spirk also likes the improvement shown by the team's other members. In addition, Spirk said the MVCC course is in great shape under it new ownership.

Weaknesses Lack of depth could be an issue for the Olympians. That concern was intensified when sophomore Bill Gushue, who had the team's second-best returning average, transferred to Moravian Academy last week.

Quoteable "Other than the fact the our travel time will increase with most matches, switching to Division I this year will be more of a lateral move because the golfing powers are pretty balanced between the two dvisions. Looking at the top teams in Division 1, I think Blue Mountain will be a powerhouse. North Schuylkill is very good and returns its number one and two from last year. Pottsville also has a strong team." Head coach Mike Spirk

LEHIGHTON

Co-Head coaches Joe Ellis and Matt Fisher (First season)

Last year's record 14-4 overall

League Mountain Valley Conference

Home course Mahoning Valley Country Club

Key losses Dave Behler, Brendan McCullion, Brad Bickert, Jeff Newman and Jourdan Semmel.

Key returnees Cole Rex (Sr.), Nick Mantz (Jr.)

Others to watch Jacob Hoatz (Jr.), P.J. Salerno (Jr.), James Sverchek (Jr.), Justin Ziegenfuss (Jr.), Jesse Sabol (So.), Allen Everett (So.), Emelio Beckett (So.) and Tyler Wentz (Fr.).

Strengths The players who were on the team last year know what it takes to be a winner, so Ellis and Fisher hope they can build off of that success.

Weaknesses Depth. The Indians lost most of the nucleus for last year's team to graduation and have just one senior (Cole Rex) returning. Numbers will definitely be one of the major issues for the team when it competes in the Mountain Valley Conference where scores from six golfers count. The Indians need to

Quoteable "Our goal is to make each player better and see improvement as the year goes on." Co-Coaches Joe Ellis and Matt Fisher.

MARIAN

Head coach Len Brylewski (15th season)

Last year's record 12-2 overall (12-0 SL)

League Schuylkill League Division 2

Home course Mountain Valley

Key losses Nick Tristani, Drew Sherkness, Mike Gottstein

Key returnees Josh Green (So.), Chris Postupack (So.), Eric Mason (So.), Nick Kweder (So.), Stephen Valente (Jr.)

Others to watch Mark Postupack (Fr.)

Strengths Regardless of being young and inexperienced, Brylewski believes that the fact that these young Colts have really good work ethics imbedded in them. The Colts' mentor stated they're not afraid to work, they're not afraid to go out and play golf at any time and that they're more than willing to help each other. When it all ends up, the Colts are blessed with some really good team chemistry and that's going to help them out this year.

Weaknesses In addition to losing Nick Tristani and Drew Sherkness to graduation, Brylewski found out during the first week of practice that Mike Gottstein this year's No. 1 man transfered to South Carolina on a scholarship. Nonetheless, the seasoned head coach has look forward to the difficult task of realigning his card for the up-coming season.

Quoteable "As far as the kids are concerned, no, I'm not really setting any goals for the kids. With Mike gone, it's a big difference I think. We're just going to have to play it by ear the rest of the way. And, hopefully that these kids are going to develop and get better. And, that's what we're hoping for," Head coach Len Brylewski.

NORTHWESTERN

Head coach Justin Smith (Sixth season)

Assistant coaches None

Last year's record 0-13 overall

League Colonial League

Home course Olde Homestead

Key losses None

Key returnees Michael Hontz (Sr.), Tyler Kunsman (Sr.), Stephen Reitz (Jr.), Michael D'Ancona (Jr.)

Others to watch Cole Miller (Fr.), Nick Vecellio (Fr.)

Strengths The Tigers will be relying on some of the experience to lead them forth on the fairways and the greens this season. A lot of the players have played together since they were freshmen on the team. Smith hasn't had a team with this much team experience. Hontz and Kunsman, Reitz and D'Ancona have played longer together any of the players Smith has had in the past.

Weaknesses Smith is concerned about the Tigers' consistency amongst competitive matches this season. With more tri-matches being played throughout the regular season, the Tigers need to eliminate those bad days with the scorecard as it will effect the outcome of two matches rather than one on those competitive days.

Quoteable "We are excited about the progress the returning players have made over the off season as well as the new talent on the team. Their commitment to continue practicing and improving will certainly help us be competitive this season. We feel our motto "Every Shot Counts" will help us get the most out of every practice as well as in the matches," Head coach Justin Smith.

PALMERTON

Head coach David Lavin (First season)

Assistant coaches None

Last year's record 15-1 overall

League Colonial League

Home course Blue Ridge Country Club

Key losses Dan Costenbader, Mike Englert, Marcus Pitts

Key returnees Ben Andrews (Jr.), Billy Heinich (Sr.), Brett Snyder (So.)

Others to watch Kak-Koa Mook (So.), Alex Raub (Fr.)

Strengths Lavin is looking for Ben Andrews to be in strength this season. Due to the lack of returning players, Andrews will be counted on to be the leader and teacher of this year's team. Billy Heinich, who is the team's only senior, will also be looked upon for his leadership.

Weaknesses The Bombers return just three kids from last year's 15-1 team and will be in a rebuilding process this season. Andrews was the only player who scored from last year, so inexperience amongst the underclassmen will play a role.

Quoteable "We know coming in that this is going to be a rebuilding year. However, the positive outlook in that we have seven new people on the team. Ten players on a golf roster is not bad. We are hoping that these new players will gain experience for the future. We have had some great luck the last couple of years with the amount of talent we have had come through the program, so we just want to keep the team and the interest in the game growing," - Head coach David Lavin.

PANTHER VALLEY

Head coach Larry Marek (Eighth season)

Assistant coaches None

Last year's record 11-3 overall (10-2 SL)

League Schuylkill League Division 2

Home course Villas Crossing

Key losses Mike Luckenbill

Key returnees Kory Lopata (Sr.), Scott Nevenglosky (Sr.), Matt Tucker (Sr.), Mike Hadesty (Sr.), Rob Knipper (Sr.), John-Paul Heckman (Sr.)

Others to watch John Taras (So.), Luke Stano (Fr.), Pat Iezzoni (Fr.), Jeremy Thomas (Sr.), Paul Suzadil (Sr.)

Strengths The Panthers return a ton of experience from last year's 11-3 team. Six of Marek's top seven golfers are seniors and played in the majority of the team's matches last year. Marek believes all seven can shoot in the low-70s or high-80s on any given day.

Weaknesses With that said, Panther Valley is very senior-laden this year. The team has eight seniors, zero juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen - meaning the team will be heavily depleted next year. However, that is still a year away.

Quoteable "We made the playoffs last year for the first time in a long time. I would like to qualify for the playoffs once again and hopefully compete for the division title. We aren't going to sneak up on anybody, so we are going to have to work even harder. Still, I think the kids have put in the time this summer and should be ready to go," Head coach Larry Marek.

PLEASANT VALLEY

Head coach Steve Krechel (20th season)

Assistant coaches Paul Evans

Last year's record 6-8 overall (5-5 MVC)

League Mountain Valley Conference

Home course Indian Mountain

Key losses Katie Kenny, Bobby Nagy

Key returnees Bryan Baumgartner (Sr.), Alex Kaye (Sr.), Kyle Adamonis (Jr.)

Others to watch Peter Luisi (Jr.), Brian Danaro (Jr.), Andrew Hansen (So.)

Strengths Krechel pinpointed the idea that this year's starting group has taken to every single one of the away courses they will visit will benefit their play for the upcoming season. Thus, the experience on several different courses besides their own at par-72 Indian Mountain will be key this year. The Bears are also showing promise towards a successful season thanks to showing the desire to improve each day they step on the golf course.

Weaknesses After a mediocre year last year, the Bears are concerned with the level of play in the Mountain Valley Conference. Krechel stated Stroudsburg can still be seen as a powerhouse and noted Lehighton will be a tough match knowing that had a competitive program a year ago.

Quoteable "I would day we would like to have a winning season this year. We would like to finish with a mark better than a .500 season since we have had three losing season in a row the last couple of years. So, we're definitely looking to break that trend when we take to the competition this season," Head coach Steve Krechel.

TAMAQUA

Head coach Joshua Shilko (First season)

Assistant coaches None

Last year's record 4-10 overall (4-8 Schuylkill League)

League Schuylkill League Division 1

Home course Villas Crossing

Key losses Jordan Heisler, Zachary Nicholls

Key returnees Matthew Hadesty (Sr.), Steven Christ (Sr.), Bryce Huegel (Sr.), Colin Johnson (Sr.), Trevor Reinhardt (Sr.), Michael Toth (Sr.), Nicolas Toth (Jr.)

Others to watch Jackson George (Jr.), Kyle Cunningham (Sr.)

Strengths Shilko believes the senior leadership will be the Blue Raiders' strength this season. They have eight seniors, including key returnees in Hadesty, Christ, Huegel, Johnson, Reinhardt and Toth, that will lead program in the right direction and serve as mentors to the underclassmen imbedded in the roster.

Weaknesses The large jump in interest from last year to this year has brought the Blue Raiders' program a lot of inexperienced talent. So, it sets up a true challenge for Shilko this year to try and be successful. Meanwhile, it gives Shilko the chance to groom the younger players to take over the reigns of competing on the competitive courses in the future.

Quoteable "I feel good about our preparation for the season thus far. Our upperclassmen spent a lot of time on the course this summer and look to provide us with solid, consistent scoring. We have also seen a boom in interest in the golf program in the past year. Last year we had eight members and this year over 20 signed up. Our hope is to develop these younger players to create a program that is competitive for years to come," Head coach Joshua Shilko.

WEATHERLY

Head coach Mike Limberg (Seventh season)

Assistant coaches None

Last year's record 0-9 overall

League Schuylkill Division 2

Home course Mountain Laurel

Key losses None

Key returnees Robert Adams (So.), James Belletiere (So.)

Others to watch Josh Reiner (Fr.), Garrret Titus (Fr.), Tanner Titus (So.), Alexis Berger (So.), Drek Fillory (Jr.)

Strengths After starting last season with just four players and then having to forfeit the final four matches after two players quit the team, the Wreckers numbers have increased this year as they now have seven on the varsity roster.

Weaknesses Weatherly is not only young (six of the seven players are freshman or sophomores), but extremely inexperienced. Five of the seven players on the team had never played an 18-hole round of golf prior to two weeks ago.

Quoteable "Our numbers are a little better this year, but they are still lower than we would like. We have a lot of young kids that have virtually no experience. Our goal is to keep them interested in the game and hopefully improve as the season goes on." Head coach Mike Limberg

GIRLS

MARIAN

Head coach Len Brylewski (Second season)

Last year's record 6-4 overall

League None

Home course Mountain Valley

Key losses Alyssa Tirpak, Emily Kennedy, Angela Pavalko

Key returnees Kacee Gutsie (Sr.), Stephanie Peel (Jr.)

Others to watch Anna Duna (So.), Jessica Horlacher (So.), Arianna Srinivasan (Fr.), Monica Wosik (Fr.), Sara Wisniewski (Jr.), Rebecca Paulshock (Fr.), Olivia D'Angelo (Fr.), Christy Digiandomenico (Fr.)

Strengths An inexperienced group of young Fillies will be guided by seasoned players in Stephanie Peel and Kacee Gutsie, who Brylewski believes both have improved a lot with some off-season time on the links. Instead of staying away from the game till the up-and-coming season, both ladies took time out of their summer to improve on their game by playing golf. In doing so, Brylewski feels their guidance and leadership will be key to the Fillies' success this season.

Weaknesses For the Fillies, the hardest part of the season will be the fact that they travel all the time. They will travel North as they'll play up near Scranton since those teams in the upper tier do have girls teams. So, Brylewski and Marian hooked them up with some teams in the nine-hole league up there and that's where the Fillies will play. They will also head south to areas like Springford and play down there. Thus, the Fillies will travel a lot.

Quoteable "It's going to be a learning experience for these girls. That's what it's going to be. It's the first year for the most of them except for Kacee and Stephanie, which both of them have been doing really well again," Head coach Len Brylewski.

(Capsules compiled by Shawn McFarland, TJ Engle, Emmett McCall and Ed Hedes)