Golf: St. Augustine, Middle favorites in Cape-Atlantic League
A look at the area’s high school golf teams with last season’s record:
Vineland (19-3) features one of the top duos in the area in first-team Press All-Star Eric Dargis and senior Cody Freese and should be in the mix for the division title. Dargis tied for fourth at the CAL Individual tournament last season and led the Fighting Clan with a 37.8 nine-hole average.
Absegami (12-6) is led by senior first-team Press All-Star Chris Filling. Filling had a sub-38 nine-hole average last season and qualified for the Tournament of Champions with a fifth-place finish in the South-Central Group IV tournament. Tom Delany looks like he will open the season at No. 2 with Christian Foti, Sean Hotlen and Ryan Henry rounding out the top five.
Egg Harbor Township (8-8) graduated a talented senior class but has some talented underclassmen hoping to keep the Eagles competitive. Sophomore Greg Szrom returns after a solid freshman season. Eric Dekarski has the potential to be one of the top freshmen in the CAL.
Atlantic City (3-15) is young with two sophomores and a freshman expected to be in the team’s top four. Senior captain Nick DiCioccio gives the team some much-needed senior leadership. Sophomore Mark Dunn will start the year at No. 2 with freshman Julia Kline and Jozef Swatowski going three and four, respectively.
Millville (2-14) will look to junior No. 1 Tyler Loteck to lead the team and score consistently as the Thunderbolts look to improve on last year’s two-win season.
St. Augustine Prep (16-0) is the defending division and conference champion and will again be the favorite with defending Press Player of the Year Cody Dazen leading the way. Dazen won the CAL Individual and Carl Arena/Al Rifkin Memorial tournament titles last season and finished second in state Non-Public A at the Tournament of Champions. Mark Benevento and Garrett Catalana return from last season. Freshman Luke Sliwowski has the potential to be one of the area’s top newcomers.
Mainland Regional (15-3) will again be in the mix for division and conference titles led by two-time Tournament of Champions qualifier Colin Roche and senior captain John Petronis. Roche and Petronis are among the best in South Jersey. Henry Jungels, Jay Feldman, Anthony Godleski and Nick Lawless also return and make the Mustangs one of the deepest teams in the area.
Ocean City (6-10) returns most of its lineup and will look to play spoiler against Mainland Regional and St. Augustine Prep. Dom DiGiacomo leads the team at No. 1. Steve Pashuck, Shayna Zoller and Mike Kimball are fighting for the 2-4 spots, while seniors Jack Handshaw and Joe Cusato round out the top six.
Oakcrest (2-16) is in rebuilding mode. The Falcons graduated six seniors from last seaosn’s two-win team and are in one of the toughest divisions of any golf conference in South Jersey with St. Augustine Prep, Mainland Regional and Ocean City all on the schedule twice a year. Senior Joe Lynch and junior Jayson Smith are the team’s top two players.
Middle Township (18-0) enters the season on a 38-match winning streak after back-to-back undefeated seasons. The Panthers, who won the CAL National and South-Central Group II titles, will again be the top team in the area with three first-team Press All-Stars returning. Sophomore David Hicks won the South-Central Group II title and finished second in state Group II after shooting an area-best 74 at the TOC. Senior Kevin O’Donnell (who recently committed to play at Chestnut Hill College) tied Hicks for the lowest nine-hole average in the conference with a 36.0. John Longstreet finished with a 39.2 nine-hole average and finished third in State Group II.
Holy Spirit (14-4) appears to be the top challenger to Middle in the division with five returning seniors. Seniors Jimmy Deleener and Mike Teti will lead the team as the most consistent scorers. Senior Chris Wenz and sophomore first-year player Pat D’Arcy will go three and four, respectively.
Lower Cape May Regional (12-6) will rely on the experience of its top four players. Senior captain John Staples leads the team. Junior Jake Gallego and seniors Bryce Onofrio and Brian Sulecki make up the team’s top four.
Buena Regional (10-11) will rely on an experienced core group of players. Junior Shea Simons is the team’s top player and capable of shooting in the high-30s. Senior Lana MacDonald is one of the top girls in the area. Juniors Jerry Geese and Tyler Allen round out the top four.
Bridgeton (2-19) won a pair of matches last season and will look to increase that total this time around.
Sacred Heart (17-4) was hit hard by graduation with three starters gone from last season’s team. The Lions hope to still remain competitive in the division and conference behind junior No. 1 Nick Calabrese and sophomore No. 2 Steven Tobolski. Zach Steelman, Ernie Scoma and Michael McGuire round out the top five.
Wildwood Catholic (8-10) returns one of the area’s top underclassmen in sophomore Blake Vogdes. Vogdes was a first-team Press All-Star last season after averaging 37.9 and finished tied for 17th at the Carl Arena tournament. Steven Curran takes over as head coach of the Crusaders. Curran was an assistant with the team last season.
Cape May Tech (7-12) returns an experienced core group of players that will look to challenge for the division title. Senior Pete Adams is a four-year starter for the Hawks. Noelle Sittineri, Tyler Moyer and Nate Horvath are all third-year players.
St. Joseph (6-11) is led by sophomore Zach McCloskey. McCloskey scored in almost every one of the team’s matches last season.
Cedar Creek (0-21) has the first senior class in school history and the Pirates return nearly their entire lineup from last season. Senior Ken Selwood is the team’s No. 1. Sophomore Mark Marienski and senior Shane Moore will start the year at second and third, respectively, and will look to score consistently.
Southern Regional (18-6) is young with a senior and four sophomores in its top five but expect the Rams to still be among the best in the Shore Conference. Senior Mike Chiodi and sophomores Jackson Fiel and Chase Clark return.
Pinelands Regional (8-6-1) returns almost its entire team and will look to challenge for the Shore Conference B South title. Seniors Mark Crosson, Devin Eddy, Pat Rottundo and sophomore Danielle Elia all return to give the Wildcats a talented top four.
Lacey Township (9-7) won six matches two season ago and nine last year. The Lions will look to continue that upward trend this season.
Barnegat (2-13) struggled through a two-win season last year but should be improved this season.
Cumberland Regional (3-18) returns its top six players from last season’s team and will look to improve on its three-win season. The Colts are still young, however, with four sophomores in their top six with just one senior. Sophomore No. 1 Michael Razcenbek has the potential to shoot in the high-30s. Sophomore Tyler Smith likely will play at No. 2 with brothers Cody and Blake Kazaoka filling out the top four.
Wildwood (3-14) returns four players with considerable varsity experience but is still young with no seniors in the program. Junior No. 1 Christian Amado is a three-year starter. Juniors Joe Ricciardi and Roger Bruno and sophomore Jovaniel Arroyo fill out the top four and will look to score consistently.
Lacey Township (10-1) will have a tough time looking for an encore to last season’s Shore Conference A Central championship squad. The Lions were a perfect 6-0 in the division last year. Seniors Jessie Harrison and Chelsey Layton return. Olivia Fenton, Lauren Harris and Emily Hughes lead a talented sophomore class.
Barnegat (5-6) has solid numbers with 11 girls out for the team and four seniors and a junior leading the way. Senior captains Colleen Anderson and Samantha Szewczyk are joined by seniors Jennifer Rocketts and Shannon Rainsford and junior Sara Ridgway in the top five.
Cumberland Regional (2-3) has an experienced group of returnees with two seniors and three juniors returning. Courtney Roesch and Amber Sprenger give the team senior leadership with juniors Ashley Evans, Devin Hanaoka and Courtney Muzick also looking to shoot consistently.
Southern Regional (4-9) returns five starters but is still relatively young with no seniors on the roster. Junior three-year starter Lauren Sheehan is the team’s top scorer. Danielle Sheehan and Brittany Cannon are battling it out for second and third. The Rams have a talented group of freshman that will look to contribute right away.
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