So, how is the future looking for the Riverhead High School girls golf team?
Well, for the first time since he took over as coach, Steve Failla had to cut players during tryouts for the team. That’s how good it’s looking.
Sixteen candidates came out and Failla had to tell five hopefuls that they were not going be part of the team.
“It was pretty tight,” Failla said. “It was tough.”
But that is a problem that Failla would rather have than not.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “The future is very bright.”
The Blue Waves will bring a young team into Suffolk County League III season, with eighth-graders, freshmen and juniors dominating the squad.
“We have raw talent and untapped potential,” Failla said. “We’re going to have a lot of learning through the year. I’m cautiously optimistic.”
Last year the Blue Waves finished with a 5-7 record, the best in the program’s five-year history. In fact, just about all of their matches were decided by a handful of strokes. Failla wouldn’t be surprised if that happens this year.
“All our matches were close, a few strokes,” he said. “Every match was competitive.”
Aby Brophy, a freshman, probably will be Riverhead’s No. 1 golfer.
“She just seems to be the most consistent girl who was back from last year,” Failla said. “The next 10 girls, they can be in a battle for spots on a weekly basis. There’s a lot of raw talent. They can shine on a weekly basis.”
The key juniors include Abigail Wehunt and Cassidy Brown, along with Brianne Corwin and Jackie Irwin.
Kristan Kinghan, Emily Densieski and Lindsey Denninger are among the freshmen who could make their mark.
Hopeful eighth-graders include Faith Johnson-DeSilvia, Alexandra Kozakiewicz and Jackie Kratoville.
“If the girls continue their hard work they’ve shown in the first three weeks, we might raise an eyebrow or two,” Failla said.
Finding time outside through a brutal March has not been easy as the Blue Waves’ home course, Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead, had been closed for the month. Instead, the team used nearby Indian Island Country Club to train.
“They donated lots of resources to us,” Failla said. “They have a range that’s been open, and with putting greens.”