Sullivan West Boys Begin Quest For Ninth Consecutive Division Title With Win Over Co-Division Champion Tri-Valley; Valley Central Girls Continue Last Year’s Unbeaten Streak With Wins Over Monticello and Sullivan West
Boys : OCIAA Division IV: Sullivan West 229, Tri-Valley 255
Girls: Valley Central 156, Monticello 173, Sullivan West 186
By RICHARD A. ROSS
Photos at www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com
CALLICOON, NY—For all of my outspoken passion about the other spring sports, in particular my unabashed love of track, I have to say that I rarely enjoy a day more than one defined by standing on the bucolic beauty of a golf course under a bright sun and blue sky, watching young men and women concentrate on their craft.
For its sheer beauty in its gorgeous natural setting, golf is unique and a great counterpart to the other athletic rites of spring. But don’t let the pristine setting delude you into thinking that what is taking place on the green isn’t incredibly athletic, demanding, competitive and riveting.
To be sure there are always young golfers who come out for the sport just to try something new for the spring. Some have tired of the other sports and relish a change of pace. But for the elite individuals and the teams that are vying for success, golf is serious business.
Success in any endeavor is a product of hard work and perseverance and golf is no exception. Elite golfers don’t let their love of the game lapse during the offseason. Of course, being a denizen of the cold northeast means traveling somewhere warmer in winter to get some time on the green. But even though those opportunities may be infrequent, there is always fall and summer to work on perfecting one’s game.
On this day featuring the boys league match between Sullivan West and Tri-Valley and the girls three way tilt among Valley Central, Monticello and Sullivan West, the theme of ongoing success was very much in play.
Valley Central was 13-0 last year as the team was led by standout Tori DeGroodt, three time Section Nine champion. DeGroodt finished 11th in the state last year and is now evincing her craft at the University of South Carolina in Buford. This year’s team is led by Kayla DiMartno who tied for 52nd at states a year ago. DiMartino would top all of the girls on the greens on this day with a 12-over par 47. More on the girls match shortly.
Few schools can match the lengthy streak of success evinced by the Sullivan West boys squad. For eight straight years beginning in 2004 they have held sway in their division though last year that title was shared with Tri-Valley and Eldred. That was the Bears’ first-ever Division title and they’d love nothing better than to garner another.
Consequently, an early season clash with Tri-Valley would prove to crucial to each team’s goal of retaining the Division IV supremacy. For the Westies who started their season with a pair of non-league losses to Pine Bush and Warwic, this first league match was time to get it going with the squad’s top golfers taking to the greens. In the earlier matches Coach Bob Fife had afforded all of his players a chance to get out and work on their swings and putts.
Tri-Valley already had a league win by dint of beating Liberty the day before. Sullivan West’s top golfer, senior Drew Billard wasn’t having one of his best days but then again, neither was Tri-Valley’s Jimmy Bernstein. Each shot a seven-over 42 on the day. Billard’s hopes of birdying the ninth and final hole to stay in the high 30’s went like the rest of the day, short of the mark.
But in terms of team performance, Sullivan Wests next three golfers Devon Muzuruk, Ryan Reinshagen and Karl Schmidt easily outmaneuvered T-V’s Conor Walsh, Dion Lynch and Brady Rogers by a combined 20 strokes for the easy win. This is early in the season though and both squads know there’s a lot of golf to play to see who raises the banner this year.
Valley Central had little trouble with either Monticello or young Sullivan West. In addition to DiMartino’s 47 on the front nine, the Lady Vikings got a 53 from Abby Baker and a 56 from Cierra Fragale. Monticello was paced by veterans Taylor Knapp with 53 and Haley Heins with 57. The Vikings improved to 3-0 adding to their prior win over Monroe-Woodbury.
Boys results: (at Villa Roma Resort, front nine, par 35)
SW: Drew Billard 42; Devon Muruzuk 45; Ryan Reinshagen 46; Karl Schmidt 47.
T-V: Jim Bernstein 42; Conor Walsh 52; Dion Lynch 53; Brady Rogers 53; Kyle Rogers 55.
Records: Sullivan West 1-2 (1-0 OCIAA); Tri-Valley 1-1 (1-1 OCIAA).
Girls results: (at Villa Roma, front nine, par 35)
Valley Central: Kendra DiMartino 47; Abby Baker 53; Cierra Fragale 56.
Monticello: Taylor Knapp 53; Haley Heines 57; Mikayla Mendells 63.
Sullivan West: Daphne Muzuruk 59; Erin Finn 60; Kassie Thelman 67.
Records: Sullivan West 0-3; Monticello 1-1; Valley Central 3-0.
For photos from the match visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com