March 12, 2010
For the first time in several years, the Cape Henlopen High School golf team began its practice sessions for the new season without freezing.
The Vikings recently were found swinging away in sunny, relatively warm conditions at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, their home course. Even the wind was mild, which is really unusual on that layout in early March.
“I’m feeling positive about the upcoming season,” said head coach Claudio Smarrelli. “We have a lot of experience on the team, with several returning players. I also look for some of the new varsity members to make a contribution.”
Casey Anderson and Connor Jones are returning seniors for the Vikings. Both golfers were often among those scoring for the team last year, and should continue putting up good numbers this spring.
Juniors Devin Medd and Nick Purnell show progress from last year’s skill levels. During one recent practice session, for example, Medd hit a towering drive with a gentle draw. The squad surrounding him let out a collective “Wow!” at the sound of impact, which was noticeably louder than the others.
Returning varsity sophomores Shane Ghigliotty and Matthew Kersey also looked good during their practice routines. Fellow tenth grader James Fenstermaker is moving up this year from the junior varsity. He also impressed the coach and the other players with his booming driver.
Smarrelli has two assistant coaches this year. Dave “Chief” Inglis and Ed Kickenweitz will be concentrating their efforts on the junior varsity squad. Inglis returns for another year, while Kickenweitz is serving his first term with the kids. He is a certified instructor by the United States Golf Teachers Federation, and that experience should be invaluable to the young players.
The JV Vikings are headed by senior Josh England. The sophomores include Bryant Bredbenner and Mitchell Taylor. Several ninth graders were also busy at the RBCC range this week, including Michael Johnson, Esther Kung and Eli Thomas-Hartnett.
Several other Cape kids signed up, but weren’t on the course on the day I visited the squad. They include Ryan Coleman, Joseph Dimatteo, Andrew Gorecki, Cole Hensey, James Kersey, Zachery Lee, Zachary May, Shaun Palmer, Tyler Reed, Henry Rivas-Flores, and Hunter Swider.
In another wrinkle from the past several years, the Vikings will not begin their season with a match against long-time rivals Caesar Rodney. Instead, their first contest is at Garrison’s Lake Golf Course on March 23, against Smyrna. The Vikings first home match takes place two days later, against Sussex Central, at Rehoboth Beach CC.
Later in the season the Vikings host Delmarva Christian High School, Seaford, Sussex Tech, Polytech, Delmar, and Indian River. A few of these matches will likely be held at Kings Creek Country Club.
The squad will play Shawnee Country Club twice–once against Lake Forest and once against Milford. They will also travel to Seaford Country Club to play Laurel, to Maple Dale to play Dover, and in midseason ride up to Wild Quail to face Caesar Rodney. The course for an away match against Saint Thomas More Prep in May has yet to be finalized. The Vikings finish their regular matches against Woodbridge, at Heritage Shores Golf Club in Bridgeville. The conference matches and state championships follow thereafter, at the end of May.
Smarrelli noted several contributions from Cape Region supporters this year, in addition to Rehoboth Beach CC and Kings Creek CC. On behalf of the team, he expressed “deep appreciation” for the donation of the team’s windshirts from David Jones, of Atlantic Refrigeration, and for additional support from Tom Ghigliotty and Craig Karsnitz, Esquire.
Short trip south
I joined PGA pro Devon Peterson and several Shawnee CC golfers on Sunday, March 7, for a fun round on the Newport Bay course at Ocean City Golf and Yacht Club.
This is very pretty, challenging layout, with great views of Holland Creek, Gibbs Pond, and Greys Inlet on the western edge of the property. The club’s head golf pro, Buddy Sass, was a very pleasant host.
You might consider checking it out before the spring rush of golfers from the frozen north (800-442-3570).