March 31, 2006
We’ve had the same kind of opening to the spring season in the Cape region for the last several years.
The forsythia bloom.
The first robins make their appearance.
And the Viking golf team of Cape Henlopen High School loses a close match with Caesar Rodney to begin their spring campaign.
It happened again, as Cape traveled to Wild Quail Country Club near Wyoming on March 23 and lost, 174-178, cold, blustery conditions.
The Riders’ Chris Blades took medalist honors with a 39. Cape’s Travis Parker, a junior, had the best Viking score with a 41. “That wasn’t bad, for the first match of the year,” he said.
Senior Jason Hastings and junior Samantha Purple were next for Cape with a pair of 45s. Hastings was clearly affected by the cold, while Purple said she did well until her fifth hole. She doubled that one and the next, and bogeyed in from there. Senior Alex Hatter completed the team scoring with a 47, thanks in large part to going 6-over on the first hole.
Despite the stumble out of the gate, Head Coach Claudio Smarelli is optimistic about the season. “We had 40 kids come out, and 25 are now on the roster. I believe we have a strong team this year. We look good. I have a lot of confidence in my players.”
In addition to the four scorers from the opening match, senior Andrew Parsell is among the top five regular golfers on the team. Smarelli is also rotating junior varsity players into the make-up for each varsity match, to give them valuable competition experience.
Thus far, junior Bradley Ha and freshmen Tristan Karsnitz and Daniel Scrutchfield have played their first matches. When space permits, other Vikings can also play during the contests. Junior Eric Sadowski has already taken advantage of the opportunity in the first week.
Volunteer coaches Dale Brown and Robert Gress are handling the junior varsity, which this year plays at the Heritage golf course near Midway. The varsity’s home matches continue to be held at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, with one home match scheduled for Kings Creek Country Club later this spring.
Gress, a Realtor with Exit Real Estate, generously donated windbreakers for the team.
The other Viking golfers include junior Andrew Jones and three sophomores, Matthew Blackburn, James Johnson, and Travis Shalaby. Several ninth-graders make up the rest of the team: Garrett Acklin, David Campbell, Michael Campbell, Edmund Geyer, Ryan Hill, Grace Jang, Angel Mangini, Zachary Murr, Nicole Nadig, Jeffrey Rogan, Mark Schatz, and Nathaniel Tanner.
Cape’s second match took place on March 27 at Maple Dale Country Club in Dover, where they beat St. Thomas More 192-227. Besides the early season struggles, both teams were affected by less-than-ideal playing conditions, including a freshly aerated greens that looked more like waffle irons than regular turf.
Parsell took medalist honors with a 46. “Let’s just say it was a very challenging day,” he said diplomatically. Purple was second among the Vikings with her 47. “I had two triples and a double on the last hole,” she said, “with three pars. I only had one three-putt.”
Parker was upset with what he called a “solid” 49. He blamed part of his problems on a new set of irons. Hastings was even more stunned at his 50. “I’ve never shot that before. I had the shanks, and two 4-putts.”
The team bounced back a bit with another victory over Delmar in their first home match on March 28, winning 178-195.
Hastings was medalist with a fine 39. He birdied the tough par-3 third hole, and suffered his only double of the day on the par-5 fourth hole.
Hatter and Parsell both shot 46s, in different ways. Parsell said he putted well until the last two holes, while Hatter said he three-putted four times for double bogeys.
Purple finished the team scoring with a 47 that she didn’t like. “I was one over after three holes, and then I tripled and played bad after that.”
The team’s next match is also at home, on April 4 against Indian River.