The old good news-bad news thing comes into play when considering the Riverhead boys golf team.
For the bad news, the Blue Waves (6-6 last year) lost their top four golfers from last 2012, a tough gut punch, to be sure. But here is the good news: Riverhead’s Nos. 5 and 6 golfers from that team, juniors Cody Weiss and Joe Heart, are not only back, but they are better. Considerably better, said coach Wade “Rocky” Davey.
It didn’t take long during the team’s first practice for Davey to see just how much the two golfers had raised their game.
“I watched them through the first three or four holes, [and] I said, ‘They got not only got better, they got a lot better,’ ” Davey said. “These two are the most improved kids I’ve seen come through since I’ve been coaching.”
Both players not only worked on golf courses over the summer, but they worked on their game as well. “They both put in a lot of time,” Davey said. “They’ve come light years.”
Last year Weiss finished with a nine-hole average of around 46, and Heart was about two strokes behind him.
What will they shoot this year? Now that’s an exciting prospect for Davey to consider.
“The other side is let’s see what happens come match time,” said Davey, whose team will play its home matches on the par-36 front nine at Cherry Creek Golf Links, one of the longer courses in League VII.
He added: “With those two kids, it’s promising. I talked to the kids about the fact that if you have five kids who can hit 44 or less, you’re going to be in 90 percent of the matches.
“The best thing about them is looking at the future, let’s see what happens. I have pretty high expectations, especially for those two. If that pans out, it should be an interesting season.”
A 2-10 record, such as the one Bishop McGann-Mercy turned in last year, may not sound good, but coach Larry Eslin knows there can be a fine line between a bad record and a winning one. Further putting things in perspective, keep in mind that the Monarchs lost three matches by under five strokes.
That being the case, Eslin, who enters his 11th year coaching the team, knows full well how important it is for players to put bad shots behind them so that one bad shot doesn’t turn into several bad shots.
“That’s one thing to emphasize to JV players, every shot, their score counts,” he said. “You can’t dwell on your last mistake. That one moment of lost focus may cost you.”
Many of the Monarchs should know this by now. Eight of the team’s nine players are seniors.
Sean Sinski (42 average) and Jack Crowley (43) had the top two averages on last year’s team. Sinski finished 10th among league golfers in the county tournament. Devin Stark and Tom Brooksbank both shot around 45. Also breaking 50 were Mike Dorval and Claudio Sciarro.
Colin Cuccia, Tim Leonard and Greg Gehring, a sophomore who is the team’s only non-senior, have been brought up from the junior varsity team.
“I’m very happy with where they’re at, their level of playing going into the season,” said Eslin, whose team will play its home matches on the par-36 front nine at Olde Vine Golf Club in Riverhead. “Every one of these kids plays regularly. Several of them work at golf courses and play on a regular basis. They’re very serious about the game, and I think they’re taking their last year to heart. Anything can happen.”