June 5, 2009
The Cape Henlopen High School golf team took the occasion of their June 1 award banquet to take stock of their 2009 season. The Vikings finished with a 12-4 record overall, and 9-3 in the Henlopen Conference.
The dinner, hosted by head coach Claudio Smarrelli and held at Kings Creek Country Club, gave me a chance to catch up with the players and their coach on the last few events of their year.
The team’s last match before the conference and state tournaments was against upstate powerhouse St. Mark’s, and was held at Kings Creek. Cape lost, 167-159, but the day had its highlights.
Freshman Shane Ghigliotty’s 38 was only a single stroke behind the medallist from St. Mark’s, and was best among the Vikings on the Kings Creek front nine. Senior captain Tristan Karsnitz shot a six-over 42 for second best on the squad. Connor Jones played well, firing a 43 for the day, while senior Dan Scrutchfield finished his final regular season match for Cape Henlopen with a 44.
The team then played in the Henlopen Conference Championships, held this year at Cripple Creek Country Club in Ocean View. The Vikings finished fourth overall.
On May 26 and 27, the team traveled to Wilmington Country Club’s South Course for the 36-hole state championship. The first day was cold, windy, and rainy, and the Vikings’ scores showed how hard it can be to play a tough course under tough conditions.
Scrutchfield shot a 90 on the first round, after starting play at 8:30 a.m. in the middle of a rainstorm. “There were 30 mile per hour winds, and driving rain. I was okay with my score, given the conditions,” he said.
Karsnitz scored a 91 in his first 18 holes, and began his round a half-hour before Scrutchfield. His 43 was not bad for the front nine, but he struggled to a 48 on the back nine.
Casey Anderson had one of his worst rounds in competition, and said he was just “nailed” by the weather. However, Nick Purnell played one of his better rounds, and qualified for the second day’s round with his 92.
Devin Medd had a 99 for his first day. “It was real rainy, and the course was really hilly. The rough was really deep,” he added with emphasis.
Ghigliotty caught a bit of a break, however, by being in the last tee time at 1:45 p.m. By then the weather had brightened a bit, and he responded by shooting a 43-46-89 in his first-ever state tournament. “It wasn’t as nasty as it was for the others. It was just overcast and windy,” he said.
On the next morning, Ghigliotty matched his previous day’s score exactly, with another 43-46-89. “I loved the course. I was playing well, but I went double-bogey double bogey for the last two holes. I started getting tired from the hills.”
Karsnitz also shot an 89 on the second day, with a 50 on the front side and a nice 39 to come back on the back nine. Scrutchfield also played well the second day, with an 85 that was best among the Vikings for either day’s competition. Purnell’s 93 completed the team scoring, as Cape finished in twelfth place, four strokes behind Newark High School.
At the award banquet, Smarrelli said he was pleased with his team’s performances this year, especially against tough competition such as Salesianum and St. Mark’s. He also noted that the Henlopen Conference coaches support his proposal to switch the golf season to the fall, where the weather should be more favorable.
Karsnitz earned his Most Valuable Player award for 2008-2009, and is a first team All-Conference selection. Ghigliotty also earned his Most Improved Player award, coming from a truly wretched first competitive match to becoming a consistent contributor to Cape’s victories.
The two seniors, Karsnitz and Scrutchfield, are leaving behind a talented core of players who should continue the Cape tradition in golf. Karsnitz is to attend West Chester University in the fall, while Scrutchfield earned a fine academic scholarship to study engineering at the University of Delaware.