Prep golfers ready for 2020 season
By SETH STASKEY
Times Leader Sports Editor
It’s been since the middle of March that an area team competed in a high school sporting event.
That changed last week when the Ohio golf season cranked it up. The season kicks into full swing this week and runs through the state tournament, which is slated for early October.
As area players begin their quests for district and state berths, they’ll also have their sights set on an OVAC, Buckeye 8 or MOVL championship.
The OVAC Tournaments will once again be held at Oglebay on Sept. 15 and 17. The 1A/2A and 4A schools will compete on the 15th, while 3A and 5A will battle on the 17th.
The Buckeye 8 will be held over the course of two rounds with the first being played at Cadiz Country Club on Aug. 17 and the final round on Sept. 1 at Belmont Hills.
The second annual MOVL event will be held at Switzerland Country Club on Sept. 22.
Here’s a capsule look at the schools that returned information:
BARNESVILLE — The Shamrocks are coming off one of the finest seasons in their school’s history.
However, veteran coach Jerry Robinson, who is entering his 21st season, has some holes to fill thanks to the graduation of All-OVAC performer Payne Johnson and Jim Byler. Those two helped the Shamrocks to the OVAC Class 3A title, Division II sectional tournament title and OVGL crown.
Leading the way for this year’s Shamrocks is junior Carter Wells, who was all-Eastern District, All-OVGL and All-Times Leader last season. He’s played on several junior tours this summer.
Backing him will be juniors Dryden Bauman and Jude Hannahs. Sophomore letter winner Breanna Flood is in the mix as well.
Seeking their first letter are junior Colton Hines, sophomore Jerney Fox and freshman Bryce Grimmer.
“We have had some tremendous success the last few seasons,” Robinson said. “Wells, Bauman and Hannahs are going to step into leadership roles this season to try to help us overcome the key losses of Johnson and Byler. These kids have really worked hard this summer and are embracing the challenge of continuing the winning tradition established before them.”
Robinson is being assisted by Nick Bauman.
BRIDGEPORT — Steve Dulesky has taken over the reins of the Bulldogs golf program from Jeff Herink, who stepped down following last season.
Dulesky inherits a squad of four players, half of whom are new to the sport.
The two returning veterans, however, are both in search of their fourth letters. Seniors Cooper Dulesky and Adam Sommer will “split time in the number one and two spots,” according to their head coach. Dulesky was an All-MOVL selection.
The newcomers are senior Neil White and junior C.J. Fouty.
“We finished strong as a team last year with everyone playing well as the season came to a close,” Coach Dulesky said. “We have gotten better each year as a team and believe we will be even more competitive this year. Our golfers are strong mentally and physically, handles themselves well on the course and have been making good decisions when confronted with adverse situations.”
Jay Sommer is serving as the Bulldogs’ assistant coach. Bridgeport plays its home matches at Oglebay Park’s Crispin Course.
BUCKEYE LOCAL — The Panthers had a coaching change as Jim Berze takes over and inherits a squad of seven players.
Buckeye Local has nary a senior on the roster and is expected to be led by sophomore Aiden Polanski. Junior Josh Kerkuta is expected to be grouped in with the number two players.
Freshman Jacob Berry and junior Jimmy Hornyak are the third and fourth players, respectively.
Rounding out the roster are freshman Gavyn Romanyak, freshman Preston Lindsay and junior Jimmy Hornyak.
Buckeye Local lost Bryan Blazeski, Sean Kubic and Dalton Watt to graduation.
The Panthers will call the BecWood Hills (par 36) layout home.
“We are a young team with great potential,” Berze said. “We will be learning a lot this year and improving our game throughout the season. We have a very good group of kids who love the game and are optimistic about our season.”
Berze is being assisted by former Panther A.D. and scratch golfer Sam Jones.
HARRISON CENTRAL — The Huskies experienced one of the most successful seasons in school history. Now, Todd Dunlap’s team is trying to figure out what to do for an encore.
They’ll be doing that with several new faces after graduation claimed no fewer than four, three-year lettermen, two of whom earned four monograms. Gone from the reigning OVAC Class 4A champions are Cruz Capers, Nick Coffland, Jacob Hudson, Jory Marvin and Hayden Wallace.
The Huskies’ feature four-year mainstay Samuel Santille, who led the team in scoring average and birdies. He’s looking to become the first Harrison Central player in school history to qualify for the district four consecutive seasons.
“Sam has put the work in to accomplish much more (than the district),” Dunlap said.
Junior Aiden Sliva, who held down the sixth spot last season, will move up to the second spot.
Senior Trevor Thompson, junior Mack Marshall, sophomore Wyatt Foreman and freshman Heath Clay are vying for varsity spots. Freshmen Peyton Roski and Brice Wallace round out the Huskies’ roster.
“Our inexperienced group will rely heavily on Sam’s leadership,” Dunlap said. “He along with Sliva will be looked upon for consistent numbers as the newcomers continue to improve.”
Dunlap, who is in his 15th season, is assisted by Brian Gossett. The Huskies will once again use Cadiz Country Club as their home course.
JOHN MARSHALL — Dave Gaudino begins his ninth season at the helm of the Monarchs with high expectations for his boys and girls teams.
The Monarch boys will be held by senior Matthew Douglas, junior Mason Orndorff and sophomore Colton Sprowls.
The remaining varsity spots, however, are “a giant question mark,” according to Gaudino.
Vying for those spots are Travis DeGarmo, junior Aiden Young, sophomores Ty Cox, Dylan Wood and Quintin Richmond. Freshmen Isaac Hughes, Zane Magnone and Raymond Steed provide depth.
On the girls’ side, the Monarchs will field a full varsity and junior varsity team. Senior Lakyn Parker and junior Lauren Tekely lead the way.
Other multiple-year letter winners include juniors Sydney Cox, Savannah Richards, April Schaber and Bethany Schaber.
Pushing for time are sophomores Paige Messner and Megan Huff along with freshmen Payton Clark, Amelia Kaste, Hollie Friedhoff and Ashley Martin.
Gaudino is assisted by Bridget Carnahan and August Hanson.
LINSLY — The Cadets of Coach Mark Landini enter the season with high expectations. When you take a look at the veteran-laden roster they boast, who can blame them?
Leading the way for Linsly is a trio of players who at some point in their career have earned All-OVAC acclaim. Included are senior Ryan Dembiczak and classmate Aiden Grubler who were on the 2019 squad. Senior Dylan Dunlevy earned the distinction in 2018.
Seniors Geno Bisbocci, Holden Farnsworth and Philip Redford round out the expected varsity lineup.
The balance of the squad, which measures 19 deep, includes: seniors Resi Anderson, Max Liu, Jacob Richards and Julie Zhu. The juniors are Alex Lehrke and Phil Naum. Sophomores include: Luke Miller, Brendan Moore, Connor Roberts and Codin Walker. The freshmen are Brady Childers, Elijah Dean and Kyle White.
“We have been the OVAC runnerup the last three seasons and our top four players have played varsity golf since they were freshmen,” Landini said. “So, for six seniors, the expectations are very high to be in the running for an elusive OVAC championship this year.”
Landini is assisted by John Martin, Joey Seabright and Ryan Dunlevy.
MARTINS FERRY — Head coach Mike Beck welcomes back one of the most experienced rosters he’s had with three seniors who have been part of the program for at least three years.
“I am excited for this season,” Beck said. “I’m hoping these seniors can finish their high school careers on a high note.”
Leading the way for the Purple is senior standout Luke Krol, who is coming off a junior campaign in which he racked up a myriad of honors, including the individual championship at the OVAC 4A and Buckeye 8 events. He also won the OVGL and qualified for the district.
“Luke has had a fantastic high-school career up to this point,” Beck said. “He works on his game all year and I hope he can achieve his ultimate goal of competing at the state tournament.”
Joining Krol in the Riders’ lineup are senior Noah Kovalesky and Cole Olinski. Sophomore Rocky Schau, freshman Matthew Kennedy and senior Zane Phillips round out the Purple roster.
RIVER — The Pilots will once again boast a full boys and girls team.
Blaze Amos is back for his third season as the boys head coach and has four players on his roster.
Senior Jagger Knight is ticketed to be in the top spot, while sophomore Grady Palmer is the second player. Senior Daniel Swegard is third, while Chris Dubon is fourth.
“We are looking to build off of last year,” Amos said. “The kids have been golfing this summer and I have seen improvement from each kid. I told them that if each of them can improve by three to four strokes, from last year, we can be competitive against a lot of local teams.”
Meanwhile, the River girls are under the guidance of Justin Fetty and feature a roster with seven players.
“This season is going to present unusual challenges for us,” Fetty said. “It’s a unique situation everyone is being faced with, but golf more so than other fall sports is sort of naturally socially distant. As for the team, we’re going to be fairly young for the third year in a row, but it’s not without some experience.”
Leading the way are junior captains Autumn Ensinger and Sierra Littleton. Sophomore Fay Salisbury is also back.
Newcomers to the program include sophomore Lacee Smith, freshman Makayla Salisbury, freshman Kiera Saksa and freshman Brielle Grimes.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Red Devils begin year two under head coach Ryan Clifford with a solid eight-boy and four-girl roster.
Leading the way for St. C. is junior Will Foster, who’s coming off a season in which he was All-OVAC, All-Buckeye 8, All-Eastern District, All-OVGL and the team’s MVP. He’ll be complemented by junior Saul Crist, who was honorable mention Buckeye 8 last season.
The lone senior on the squad is Ayden King, while junior Aiden Moran is also expected to contribute.
Three sophomores vying for varsity time are Brycen Vucelich, Hunter Toplovich and Chas Anderson, while freshmen Ashton Glover and Dylan Davenport complete the varsity boys team.
“Will and Saul were our number one and two player and will be a solid duo at the top of our lineup,” Clifford said. “Our team success will be determined by how we post scores in the third and fourth spots.”
On the girls’ side, junior Brooke Chamberlain leads the way. Senior Breanna Sproul will contribute along with junior Lexee David and freshman Delaney Florence round out the roster.
SHADYSIDE — Dave Ragase has been hired as the new head golf coach of the Tigers, taking over for Lisa Balog.
Ragase has three boys and three girls in the program. Junior Grace Green is the leader of the team after racking up a myriad of accolades last season. She’ll be joined by senior Kylee Woodard and senior Karleigh Clegg.
On the boys’ side, juniors Jacob James, Cameron Davis and freshman Luke Bell will be teeing off.
“Other than Grace, we’re pretty inexperienced, but our kids have great attitudes,” Ragase said. “They have great work ethic, and I just know that they will continue to work hard to meet their goals.”
UNION LOCAL — The Jets will be one of the area’s youngest teams with no fewer than six of their nine players in only their second year of high school.
“Our goals are simple,” UL head coach Zach Delman said. “Those are to have fun, learn the game and continually try to beat our last score each time out. If we’re able to do that, we’ll steadily improve and be playing our best when it matters at the end.”
The Jets will be held by sophomore Beezer Porter, who enjoyed a solid freshman campaign.
The next several varsity spots could change almost daily, according to Delman. Junior Brenna Perkins, sophomore Landon Crum, sophomore D.J. Butts and sophomore Logan Perkins are all in the mix.
The battle for the sixth spot will be between senior Graham Davis, sophomore Lee Adkins, sophomore Rylan Luyster and sophomore Carson Phillips.
Union Local, which lost Aiden Shugert to graduation, will utilize Belmont Hills as its home course.
Delman is being assisted by Doug Butts.