June 1, 2007
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team finished in seventh place in the 2007 state championship, held May 29-30 at the tough Bayside course near Fenwick Island.
The tournament format pitted the top 16 scholastic teams in the state against each other, supplemented by 24 of the best players from the non-qualifying schools.
Six golfers from each school played in the first round. The top four scorers from the first day qualified to finish the tournament in the second round.
Viking junior Dino Nardo finished first among the Cape players in the first round, with a great 5-over par 77. His score put him within five strokes of the first round leader, Colin Smith of Salesianum, who shot even par for the day.
Nardo birdied the first hole in the first round. It was a good omen for the rest of his day.
Senior co-captain Travis Parker slipped a bit in his first round, with an unexpected 83. Junior Tristan Karsnitz shot an 85, while senior co- captain Sam Purple’s 89 completed the foursome set for the next day.
Bradley Ha’s first day 94 was a true Jekyll/Hyde round.
According to Viking coach Claudio Smarrelli, Ha shot 22 over par in his first nine holes. He then played the back nine in even par, a remarkable recovery.
Dan Scrutchfield’s 96 completed the Viking scoring for the first day.
At that point, Cape Henlopen was in fifth place overall, tied with St. Mark’s and one stroke ahead of A. I. duPont.
The second round took its toll on most of the players, including first- round leader Smith. He followed up his 72 with an 84, taking himself out of the running for the individual championship.
Nardo shot 10 strokes higher on the second day. His combined 7787- 164 was best among the Vikings, and put Nardo in 11th place overall.
“It was set up longer today,” Nardo said. “I played all of the par-threes pretty good, though. I parred them all both days. I hit the flag on 17, and the ball dropped in close. I birdied it.
“The course was long, and the bunkers were tough. Some of them had high lips, and on some others the ball just plugged. I thought it was hard,” he said.
Purple finished second among the girl golfers, shooting an 86 for a rare three-stroke improvement over her first round.
“The first day I couldn’t hit the ball straight, but I could putt and chip. On the second day, I was hitting it straight, but then I couldn’t putt and chip.”
The girls’ tees were often set close to the boys’ tees, according to Purple. “On some of the holes, we were maybe 30 yards ahead, but on others we were only 5 yards in front.”
“It was just tough. I talked to a bunch of people and they all felt like they blew up on the second day,” Purple said.
Parker struggled to a 94 in his second round, for example. Smarrelli said, “Travis double-bogeyed his first hole, and lost his focus a little bit after that.”
Karsnitz also had an off day, shooting a 95. “Tristan didn’t start off too well, and then he had trouble calming himself down,” said Smarrelli. “It’s all part of growing up. They have to experience this all on their own.”
Smarrelli said that the other coaches agreed the course played much harder in the second round. “After the first nine holes, they were all talking about how their players’ scores were much higher than the first day.”
The coach praised his players for the strides they made in such a short time. “Travis and Sam, for example, have only been playing for three years. They’ve done tremendously well, especially when you consider that some of the kids they’re playing against have been playing for many more years. I really respect what they’ve done and I can’t say enough good things about them.”
Apparently others feel the same way.
Purple and Parker were named to the first team in the All-Conference honors. Nardo was placed on the second team AllConference, and Karsnitz earned an honorable mention All-Conference for his efforts.