When the announcement was made that the Riverhead High School boys golf team had taken third place in the League VII Tournament on Monday, the Blue Waves knew what that meant: They had qualified as a team for the Suffolk County tournament that will be played in May. The excited Blue Waves began exchanging high fives when their coach, Steve Failla, interceded. “I said, ‘Act like you’ve done it before,’ ” he recalled.
To that, the players responded, “Coach, we haven’t.”
Failla wasn’t sure if the Blue Waves had ever competed in the county tournament as a team before, but he knows what it means for his team.
“This is a big thing,” he said. “I’m trying to get the program built up at Riverhead.”
Just last week a booster club was created for the Riverhead team. The Blue Waves finished the regular season tied with Greenport/Southold for third place with a 7-5 record. And then there was Monday’s 18-hole tournament at Cherry Creek Golf Links, Riverhead’s home course.
Mattituck took the league tournament title for the second straight year with a 424 score. Eastport/South Manor was second at 440, followed by Riverhead at 494.
Riverhead senior Cody Weiss shot a 10-over-par 83, tying him for third place in the individual scoring. Teammates Joe Hart and Kyle Gevinski put up scores of 93 and 98. Three other Blue Waves — Peter Panciocco, Chris Flood and Cole Montefusco — shot over 100.
Weiss has been the team’s top scorer this season with a nine-hole average of about 39.
“I knew we had some talent,” Failla said. “I knew the well wasn’t dry. My concern was were the kids going to work harder to get better? … I challenged the kids a little more and they stepped it up.”