PITTSFIELD -- The 2013 Berkshire County high school golf season was the Year of the Senior Leader.
"You had a lot of great golfers and great team leaders this year," said Lenox coach Dick Salinetti. "I thought Kris [Vahle] did a great job for us, and Matt Lawrence did a great job for Drury. I was impressed with Devin Farnum at Mount Everett and Ryan Grande at [Pittsfield]. And [Jared] Fadding did a great job for Lee. It's a hard choice for MVP."
Salinetti is correct. In addition to the aforementioned five, Taconic junior Mitch Omelenchuck, another consistent player, are members of the All-Eagle team this year.
Any one of the aforementioned five seniors would be a good pick for MVP. No one really dominated the league.
So if there is any wiggle room, it might be that Lawrence was probably the county's best leader, having played a big part in leading the Blue Devils to their first Western Mass. golf title in 20 years.
"He meant everything to our team," said Drury coach Don Dagnoli. "He was a good role model for our younger players, and he lives and breathes golf."
Lawrence estimated that he has been playing golf for 17 of his 18 years. This is not particularly surprising, since his family owns the Stamford, Vt., Country Club, on which the Blue Devils played their home matches this past fall.
Drury's regular home course, the North Adams Country Club in Clarksburg, was undergoing renovations this fall.
"I've had a club in my hand since I was a year old," said Lawrence.
But more than that, Lawrence also had to be a presence for his team. As the only senior starter on the Blue Devil squad, he had an added responsibility.
"Yeah, I knew I'd have to step it up," he said. "We had a young team."
In addition to Lawrence, Drury started three juniors and two sophomores.
"Matt understood what he had to do for the team to be successful," said Dagnoli. "He had to play well and he had to be our leader. I give our kids a lot of credit, because they bought into it."
The Blue Devils finished 13-2, winning the North with a 9-1 record. At the Western Mass. Division II meet, Drury was tabbed to finish well, but not necessarily win it all.
In the meet, Lawrence's teammate Nick Bator came in fifth, carding a 79, with Lawrence a little farther back at 82. The Blue Devils' 336 at Wilbraham Country Club was a hefty five shots better than runner-up Frontier.
Not bad for a team that hadn't had a whiff at a Western Mass. crown since 1993.
"You know," said Dagnoli, "when you think about North Adams and Drury, you don't really think about us as a golf school. You think about football, maybe, or basketball. So I think it was really great that we finally won Western Mass. after so long. It gives the program something to build on. And Matt had a lot to do with that."
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All-Eagle Golf Capsules
The only senior on the Blue Devil squad led Drury in scoring in 10 of their meets.
The coach's take: He played for me for four years, and he improved every year. Our leader.
-- Drury coach Don Dagnoli
Vahle was the Millionaires' medalist in all 17 of their matches. The lone returning starter from the 2012 team, Vahle was solid for the Millionaires all year.
The coach's take: He was our most consistent guy, and was also solid in the classroom.
-- Lenox coach Dick Salinetti
Senior, Mount Everett
Farnum was a four-year starter for the Eagles, and was a captain the past three years. Farnum won the Berkshire Classic.
The coach's take: He was a leader, and was great with working with our younger guys. He's been the most consistent golfer we've had the past three years.
-- Mount Everett coach Fred Finkle
Finished second to Farnum in the Berkshire Classic and was the Braves' low scorer all year.
The coach's take: He shot in the 30s all year for us. Had a solid effort in the Berkshire Classic.
-- Taconic coach Mike Hillman
Another senior leader, leading the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the Western Mass. tournament.
The coach's take: Jared was just very solid. He shot in the 30s every match we played, except one.
-- Lee coach Matt Carlino
Grande shot in the mid-to-high 30s all season for the Generals. Grande usually came up big in big matches for Pittsfield.
The coach's take: [At the end of the season], Ryan was shooting as well as anyone in the county.
-- Pittsfield coach Chris Polidoro
To reach Derek Gentile:
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