David Hicks is only halfway through his high school career.

But the accomplishments are already starting to add up for the Middle Township High School sophomore golfer.

Hicks won the Cape-Atlantic League Individual Title, finished second in the Garden State Cup and South-Central Group II tournaments and had the lowest nine-hole average in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference.

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Hicks is the 2013 Press High School Golfer of the Year.

"Coming into your freshman year, there are some things you want to accomplish right off the bat," Hicks said. "It's all leading to some of the bigger goals for my junior and senior years."

Hicks has been a big part of a special time for the Middle Township golf program.

Middle (19-0) won the CAL National and finished the season unbeaten for the third straight season.

Hicks, who finished fourth in state Group II at the Tournament of Champions, said that individual success is nice but that team success is the fun part of high school golf.

"Outside of high school golf, it's a lot of individual play," Hicks said. "That's where I focus on trying to finish well on my own, but in high school golf, it's more about the team, and I'm always thinking about that.

"It's not the same going to the TOC alone."

Middle coach Will Mendo said Hicks already is a team leader as a sophomore.

"It's a blessing," Mendo said. "He's a very talented young man and he's a very intelligent young man. When you have someone like that on the team, it makes the whole team better.

"David continues to grow as a golfer, and the other kids are following him. We have a group of four or five freshman. They have come leaps and bounds, and part of it is because they're playing with David. He's leading by example."

Middle graduates it's No. 2 and 3 golfers in Kevin O'Donnell and John Longstreet to graduation next season and the Panthers will be young.

Hicks made no guarantees but said he would like to extend Middle's current 58-match winning streak as long as possible.

"We'll see how it goes," Hicks said. "We're going to try our hardest to keep it going. We're not trying to lose anytime soon but you have to take everyone seriously."

David's older brother, Alex, was a three-time Press Player of the Year at Middle and now stars at William & Mary.

David is now a two-time first-teamer.

Team of the Year

Mainland Regional had an impressive season.

The Mustangs became the first team in the program's storied history to win the Carl Arena/Al Rifkin Memorial Tournament.

The Mustangs were Cape-Atlantic League American Conference champs and won the South-Central Jersey and state Group III tournaments.

Mainland (16-1) finished the season ranked No. 1 team in The Press Elite 11 and is the 2013 Team of the Year.

Mainland coach Dan Reardon, who was a longtime assistant before becoming head coach, said this is one of the best teams in school history.

"It ranks right up there with the best of them," Reardon said. "This team did things that no other teams did."

Reardon said this was a special group.

"That was the best thing about this year," he said. "It was great, all the things they accomplished, but they really matured this year as people and conducted themselves well."

Coach of the Year

Dan Reardon was quick to deflect the credit.

Reardon's humility and laid-back coaching style have always been essential to his team's success, whether he'll take credit for it or not.

Reardon coached the Mustangs to Cape-Atlantic League National Conference, Carl Arena/Al Rifkin Memorial Tournament, South-Central Jersey and state Group III titles this spring and is the 2013 Press Coach of the Year.

"I'm Coach of the Year because I had the Team of the Year," Reardon said. "It's really nothing I did. I have really good kids."

Reardon is known for his laid-back approach, one of the reasons golfers love to play for him.

"I'm definitely laid-back, I've been accused of that before," Reardon said with a laugh. "In golf, you don't need any more pressure on you than you already have on yourself. That's really where all the pressure is going to come from."

A look ahead

The future of area high school golf is bright with only four of this season's 11 first-team Press All-Stars graduating this year.

Press Player of the Year David Hicks will return to lead a young Middle Township team that will enter next season on a 58-match winning streak.

Mainland Regional, the Team of the Year, graduates John Petronis and Jay Feldman but returns a talented group led by first-team All-Star Colin Roche and second-team All-Stars Henry Jungels and Anthony Godleski. The Mustangs, who won the state Group III title , should again be among the favorites in everything they do next season.

Contact John O’Kane:


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