High expectations for Bombers
Jack Lorenz, left, and Aaron Miller, both of Lehighton, shake hands with their Blue Mountain counterparts following a match last week. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Eight Times News area golf teams opened their season last week. Following is a look the expectations and players for each of the teams.
HOME SWEET HOME … Michael Chapman and his Jim Thorpe golfers made good use of their time during summer break. Not only did they spend time working on their all-around game, they used some time getting familiar with their new home course. “We spent a lot of time this summer on our home course Jack Frost National,” said Chapman. “Our players are very comfortable with the layout and the greens.”
UNDERCLASSMEN FORM NUCLEUS … After losing seniors Jacob Schwartz and Hunter Buskirk to graduation, the Olympians will turn to a returning core of underclassmen this season, including Connor Rodgers (Jr.), Michael Carroll (Jr.), Ed Weaver (So.) and Matt Fezenko (So.).
ONES TO WATCH … Blaise Wainright (Jr.), Mark Domski (Fr.) and Byrdon Gray (Fr.) all caught Chapman’s eye with their continued growth over the summer. He feels these Olympians will be one’s to keep an eye out on this season.
GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT … Coming off a winless season, the Olympians’ fourth year coach is looking for improvement. “Our expectation is to continue to work each day to become better golfers,” Chapman said. “We look forward to seeing our scores continue to get better throughout the season.”
HOME SWEET HOME … Lehighton has joined both Palmerton and Pleasant Valley as area teams who have made Blue Shamrock Golf Club their home course. It will be the first season for the Indians at Blue Shamrock after several seasons at Mahoning Valley Country Club.
KEY LOSSES … Indians’ head coach Mark Maholick has taken a bit of a hit to his lineup card due to graduation. Gone from last season are Sam Maholick (his son), Mason Barndt, Josh Gandy, Luke Davis and Stephen Heery.
LOADED CLASS … Aaron Miller, Jack Lorenz and Kyle Knaft are all back for their sophomore season. Junior Grant Schaeffer returns as well. Kurtis Gustafson and Tret Solt add some more talent to Maholick’s group of 10th graders. “It’s all about experience at this point,” said Maholick. “Those kids got that necessary experience last year and that should be a huge help. Hopefully it will parlay into picking it up and doing what Jack (Lorenz) did over the summer and got better. It’s all about setting an example and look for the rest of the team to follow suite in getting better as individual golfers.”
POTENTIAL … A year ago, the Indians posted a 3-10 overall record. Now, in his second year at the helm, Maholick would like to see improvement. “I’d like to get a couple more wins this season,” he said. “I think we will be able to match up well this season.”
IMPROVMENT COMING? … Tim Miller has been around the game of golf a long time. Miller enters his ninth season with the Tigers’ program. Despite a losing season a year ago (5-8 overall, 2-6 Colonial League), Miller is optimistic heading into 2019. “A very young squad gained valuable match experience last year,” said Miller. “That experience should help us this season.”
SHOES TO FILL … Cole Norman, who won a bronze medal at the Colonial League championships last year, graduated this past June. His talent and his leadership as team captain has to be filled. Miller stressed his “leadership” will be “greatly missed.”
FILLING THE VOID …A talented group of Tiger seniors are back to fill Norman’s void. Gabby Smalley, Luke Hallman, Joe Frey, Jake Dellicker and Aidan Remaley all return for their fourth season of varsity golf. “These seniors have had three years of match experience and are all capable of putting our squad in a position to challenge for the Northern division title,” Miller said. “Their scoring averages have all been between the high 70’s to high 80’s which is a testament to their work and dedication to the program.”
SHINING YOUTH … Early indication has shown that Sam Fatzinger, Nick Scott, Landon Rex, Tyler Statsko and Ethan Bailey will be capable team members, who could contribute this season.
FLY BOMBERS FLY … A year after making some noise in the Colonial League and the District 11 postseason, Knoll has high hopes entering the 2019 season. “We made the Colonial League Championships for a first time in a decade last year and finished second in Team Districts,” Knoll said. “We are a deep team and look to build on the past year’s success. So, I expect us to compete for the league and district team titles this year.”
SUPER UPPER CLASS … Bomber seniors Logan Kresge and Josh Mooney participated in last year’s postseason. Both Kresge (tied 15th at leagues, 8th at districts) and Mooney (6th at leagues) would like to take care of some unfinished business this time around as individual golfers, as well as for the best of the Bombers’ team. Classmate Matt Lalik is back to make the most of his final varsity season as well.
BOMBER PRIDE … Juniors Jacob Sutton and Derek Rea, sophomores Kyle Sebelin and Dominic Kintz, along with as incoming freshmen Tyler Hager and Connor Reinhard, are all battling for a chance to contribute.
SOME CONCERN … Knoll saw the Bombers sport a 11-5 overall (9-5 CL) mark a year ago. And, he hasn’t lost anyone to graduation from last year’s squad. But he still has some concerns. “Can we handle the expectations of a possible historic year for the program,” Knoll said. “And, can our younger golfers develop as the season goes along to become the future of the program?”
RETURNING PRESENCE … The Bears return Alex Markowski (Sr.), Steven Ottman (Jr.) and Mary Scully (Jr.) to the varsity roster. Scully has earned a spot in the District 11 qualifier the last two season, while Ottman joined her there last season.
LOOKING TO CHIP IN … Seniors Juliann Surrette and Hailey Kepple and junior Nico Ferrera will add some depth to the Bears’ lineup this season.
COMMITMENT A KEY … Pleasant Valley coach Steve Krechel enters his 27th season with the program. He likes the attitude the youthful Bears are displaying. “Many new players to the program this season,” said Krechel about what he feels is a concern right now. “Excited about learning but it takes a lot of hard work and time to learn this difficult sport of golf.”
GREAT EXPECTATIONS … Being around the game as long as Krechel has, wins and losses take a backseat to the overall importance of the game and those who take time to play it. “Win a few matches and be competitive in the league,” Krechel said about goals. “Wins and losses are forgotten in a short time but the development of skills that can be used for a lifetime are very important.”
LUCKY 7s ... The fact that the Blue Raiders graduated seven golfers from last year’s team could be cause for concern since all seven were contributors during the season. The good news, however, is that Tamaqua also has seven returnees, including veteran Megan Schoener, in the fold.
WHERE WE STAND ... In addition to Schoener, who is a three-year letter winner, the Raiders are hoping junior Tait Ehrig, also a three-year letterwinner, can help carry the team at the rugged Mountain Valley Golf Course, where the team plays its home matches.
PLENTY OF SUPPORT ... Coach Matt Stine has five underclassmen entering their sophomore campaigns, and all were part of the swing as frosh. Returning for their second season are Makenna Miller, Brady Miller, Trent Schlecht, Nick Behr, and Cole Ackerman. In addition Stine has a senior newbie in Carson Barron.
HOW TO GET IT DONE ... Stine has his goals set for the Raider program. “There are a number of solid programs within our division this year but we will be focusing more so on what we can control — learning the game properly, playing it with integrity, and enjoying it,” he said..
MAKING IT WORK ... The Wreckers have one lone senior in Ashton Gerhard, and lost a trio of veterans to graduation in Ryan Fairchild, Kevin Osifat and Jared Zaremba.
GLAD THEY’RE BACK ... Coach Brian Kaminski likes what he sees in veteran letter winners which include four juniors and Gerhard. There’s Jacob Solonoski, Antonio Colecio, Ethan Broskoskie and Jack Ramirez.
DEARTH OF UNDERCLASSMEN ... The Wreckers have no sophomores in the clubhouse, but three freshmen — Madisyn VonFrish, Owen Broskoskie and Jack Nemshick — will hit the links
STEADY AS SHE GOES ... The coach is looking at a pair of impact players singling out Ramirez and Nenshick.
LEADING THE PACK ... “Overall we should be pretty steady and consistent in scoring,” said Kaminski. “We should compete well with the other Division 2 teams in the league. Overall our team has a lot of returning players and should be consistent in scoring. We are looking to better our 6-5 record from last year and hopefully compete for a Division title or even a Schuylkill League postseason bid.”
FIND ME SOME HELP ... Marian coach Lenny Brylewski has been at this game a long, long time. He has seen the hand writing on the wall for several seasons as Marian’s numbers have been dropping. “It’s tough when you are trying to make a team competitive and we don’t have the number of golfers that we once had at Marian. It’s an uphill battle for sure,” said Brylewski about his seven person squad.
STANDOUTS ... Marian’s top golfer is senior Emily Reaman a senior who earned a letter a year ago. “Emily is very dedicated to the sport,” said her coach. “But we’ve been working with a number of players and one that is coming along is Oliva Erickson, she’s going to get a start for us.”
CHIP AND PUTT ... Surely the adage drive for show and putt for dough makes the outcome more attainable. The Colts/Fillies will look to several potential players that will develop as the season moves forward. Three sophomores will figure into starts and two freshmen are blooming on the horizon.
LEARNING AS WE GO ... Back in the day there were a few kids that teed it up and were shooting in the 70s for the Colts. “The past few seasons we haven’t had a golfer that you can count on to shoot in the 70s,” offered Brylewski. “If we can learn on the fly I’m hoping that we get better as the season moves forward.”
TEE IT UP ... Marian has used several different golf venues as its home course in the past. Now that Mahoning Valley County Club is no longer open, the team will return to Mountain Valley.