2019 Berkshire County high school golf preview capsules
Two Berkshire County high school golf teams brought home gold trophies from their respective Western Massachusetts championships. The bar has been set for the county's teams in 2019.
Hoosac Valley won the Western Mass. title in Division II, while Lee won the Division III championship. Whether either team can repeat, or some newbies can slip in there, will be determined.
The season is already underway, and it will wrap up in late October.
Coach: Jason Sniezek (21st year)
Home course: Forest Park Country Club
Last year: 15-1, won Western Mass. Division II championship
Key returnees: Henry Sniezek, Sr.; Luc Trombley, Sr.; Colby Rougeau, Sr.; Corbin Craig, Jr.
Outlook: The Hurricanes finally made it to the top of the mountain, beating Frontier Regional by six strokes to claim the Western Mass. Division II championship. It was double the pleasure for the Hurricanes, as they had the individual medalist in Henry Sniezek. He shot a 78, beating teammate Derek Alibozek by a stroke. Hayden Grimes was 10th. "The goal is to get back to Western Mass.," said coach Jason Sniezek. "That is always the goal, and then see what happens." Henry Sniezek, Luc Trombley, Colby Rougeau and Corbin Craig all finished in the top 30 last year and all return. The Hurricanes have a co-op with Drury, and Drury's Justyn Cowell will contribute to the top six.
Coach: Mitchell Spooner (3rd year)
Home course: Waubeeka Golf Links
Last year: 11-5, finished fifth at Western Mass. D-II championship
Key returnees: Brayden Smith, Sr.; Owen Petropulos, 8th grade; Zander Axt, Soph., Ben Prescott, Jr.
Outlook: The Mounties graduated one key player in Ben Gilooly. Gilooly was the Mounties' top scorer all year, and finished tied for fourth at last year's D-II championship. Spooner said that production is going to be tough to replicate, so he said he doesn't want the Mounties to try. "We have eight or nine people who can shoot in the 40s," he said. "We have depth we haven't had in the past." That depth starts with senior Brayden Smith and junior Ben Prescott. Prescott was 35th last year at Western Mass. Finishing 21st as a seventh grader was Owen Petropulos. He is now in eighth grade and will be counted on to produces some quality scores, as will sophomore Zander Axt.
Coach: Eddie Cano (2nd year)
Home Course: Country Club of Pittsfield
Last year: 1-14
Key returnees: Liam Fitzgibbons, Sr.; Lucien Lamoureaux, Sr.
Outlook: The second-year head coach has a much larger group of athletes to choose from, and eight of the 10 players on the PHS roster are underclassmen. Everything starts at the top with seniors Fitzgibbons and Lamoureaux. Cano said both of them spent the summer working at the Country Club OF pITTSFIELD, and had a chance to work on their games. Fitzgibbons, in particular, worked a lot with the pro staff at the Country Club all summer. Lamoureaux, who plays baseball as well, is athletic and while he didn't get as much time to work on his game, Cano said catching up will not be a major challenge. The team, on the whole is "very green," Cano said. "In terms of how competitive we can be, only time will tell." Cano said he's working with his team from green to tee, because the short game is more of an issue than hitting off the tee.
Coach: Robert Tyrol (2nd year)
Home course: Berkshire Hills Country Club
Last year: 8-6, finished seventh at Western Mass. Division I tournament
Key returnees: Nate Murphy, Soph.; Seamus Hayes, Jr.; Andrew King, Jr.; Nick Slocik, Jr.
Outlook: In his second year, Tyrol said he's excited having six returning veterans. He has high hopes to qualify, once again, for the Western Mass. D-I tournament. It all starts with sophomore captain Murphy, who finished tied for 30th at the D-I tournament last year. Murphy worked on his game all summer. Hayes, who finished tied with Murphy at Western Mass., has also — according to his coach — improved a lot. Juniors King and Slocik are grinders as well, and Tyrol said it will be interesting watching them improve during the season.
Coach: Pete Terpak (21st year)
Home course: Wahconah Country Club
Last year: 6-8.
Key returnees: Caden Frazier, Sr.; Emily Figiela, Sr.; Mike Cullett, Sr.; Patrick McLaughlin, 8th grade.
Outlook: The Warriors haven't seen the postseason as a team since finishing third back in 2016. Veteran coach Terpak is optimistic that this year's group of golfers can accomplish that task. "We're going to prepare six weeks and hopefully get better, and blossom for the tournament," he said. The Warriors have three seniors, including captain Mike Cullett. Caden Frazier and Emily Figiela provide a veteran presence on the course. Figiela, whose father is the greenskeeper at the Links at Worthington, has been one of Wahconah better scorers. Terpak has high hopes for sophomore Kristina Cusson, who he said has been working with pro Tom Sullivan at Wyantenuck Country Club, and has been able to hit the ball far. McLaughlin, who was part of an influx of Nessacus Middle Schoolers who have given golf a go. He came through as a seventh grader, and more could be expected this fall.
Coach: Shane Sullivan (1st year).
Home course: Greenock Country Club
Last year: 14-0, won Western Mass. Division III championship
Key returnees: Camden Redstone, Jr.; Dylan Boomsma, Jr.; Dylan Ely, Soph.
Sullivan, who played golf at Lee before graduating in 2008, has some pretty big shoes to fill in replacing Matt Carlino. The bigger set of shoes to fill will be those of Thomas Fraser. Fraser, now a freshman at RPI, was a back-to-back individual champion in 2017 and 2018, shooting even-par 71 last year at Waubeeka to win the individual title. He led the Wildcats to the team title last year. "I knew it would be a tough transition with losing thomas, but I wanted to do everything I can to help this group continue to be successful," said Sullivan, who happens to be Fraser's cousin. The Wildcats' cupboard is far from empty though. Ely was tied for eighth at the D-III tournament last year, while Redstone was tied for 17th and Boomsma was tied for 20th. Sullivan won't be expecting any one golfer to shoot in the 30s consistently like Fraser did. But if they can all shave a couple of strokes off their scores, things could work well.
Coach: Dick Salinetti (16th year)
Home course: Cranwell Resort
Last year: 13-1, finished third in the Western Mass. Division III tournament
Key returnees: Max DiGrigoli, Soph.; Brendan Hayden, Soph., Ben Haddad, Soph., Cliff Flynn, Fr.
Outlook: Veteran coach Salinetti doesn't really have to memorize any names, because this group has been together for at least two and, in some cases, as many as four years. And none are seniors. "These kids love golf. They play and practice every day in the summer," he said. Last year, the Millionaires missed out on qualifying for the state Division III tournament by six strokes, finishing third. Lenox was eight shots behind champion Lee. The top Western Mass. finisher was now sophomore Brendan Hayden, who was sixth in the tourney. DiGrigoli, who is also a sophomore, was tied for eighth last year at Waubeeka. In fact, all five Wahconah golfers finished in the Top 20 last year. Max Shepardson, Cliff Flynn and Ben Haddad all finished in the top 20. Flynn carried that success into this summer, when he won the Allied Junior age 13-14 division championship.
Coach: Tony Bleau (3rd year)
Home course: Egremont Country Club
Last year: 4-7
Key returnees: Cooper Rothvoss, Jr.; Colby Stevens, Sr.; Jack Seward-Dailey, Jr.
Outlook: The Eagles have a nine-player roster, but the good news is that all of them were with the team a year ago. "I have guys who have the potential to shoot in the 40s or lower," the third-year coach said. Rothvoss, Stevens and Seward-Dailey are the top three returning golfers with a great deal of experience. Seniors Spencer Broderick and Tucker Wilkinson both gained some valuable experience a year ago and ultimately, the goal is to build the program up to a position where it can qualify for the Western Mass. Division III tournament.
Coach: Ed Locke (2nd year)
Home course: Wyantenuck Country Club
Last year: 4-9
Key returnees: Curt Wilton, Sr.; Brady Whalen, Sr.; Ben Shultis, Sr.; Shea Hull, Jr.; Andrew Churchill, Jr.; Noah Kisiel, Soph.
Outlook: The Spartans haven't been to a Western Mass. Division II tournament as a team since 2016. That is something second-year coach Locke would like to have a goal for his team. He said to improve on last year's record, the Spartans will have to play better golf away from home at Wyantenuck. Three seniors, Wilton, Whalen, and Shultis will be leading the Spartans into the season, with junior Rubino and sophomore Kisiel also in the top five to start. Freshman Bradley Danyluk, in the words of his coach, has the most experience of the new players. Locke said they all have promise.
Coach: Chris Carr (1st year)
Home course: Forest Park
Last year: 11-1, finished sixth in the Western Mass. Division III tournament
Key returnees: Ryan Baran, Sr.; Chris Rose, Sr., Dalton Tatro, Sr.
Outlook: Carr steps in as the head coach, replacing Justin Kratz. Carr said his team's goal is to "have our senior golfers shape a great play experience for their final season on the team, and to strengthen our base of younger golfers to ensure their success in the upcoming seasons." Senior Ryan Baran, who was 19th last year in Western Mass, has been a consistent golfer for the Hornets, and the coach said Baran shows "great possibilities" this year. Dalton Tatro, who was 24th at Western Mass., and Chris Rose, tied for 28th, are also key returners for the Hornets. Dylynn Hardee is back for her second year, and the senior has put in a lot of time preparing for the season. There are eight seniors, four juniors and a sophomore on the McCann roster.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.