March 15, 2013
The nasty weather recently experienced in the Cape Region has not kept the Cape Henlopen High School Golf Team off the practice range, at least on the rare days without storms.
I visited the team on the range at Rehoboth Beach Country Club this week, when it was only cloudy and windy. Some kids were dressed for the cold, and others appeared to have been a little too optimistic about how nice it would be on that particular afternoon.
Head Coach Claudio Smarrelli readily admitted that the rainstorms have had an impact on their practice schedule, which began March 1. “We’ve missed several days, but the kids are making good progress anyway,” he said.
Assistant Coach Chris Krueger, the teaching pro at Kings Creek Country Club, was busy giving individual guidance to the kids swinging on the green plastic driving mat.
During a short break, he emphasized how delighted he was with the large number of potential players. “To have 23 kids come out for the team is really great,” he said. “I’ve seen some schools on the Eastern Shore that were lucky to have four players on their squads.”
Assistant Coach Samantha Purple also worked with several young golfers on their basic set-up. Purple, a standout golfer herself on past Viking golf squads, is now a language arts teacher at Beacon Middle School. She must have noticed that working as a teacher would give her a chance to be out on the golf course in the afternoons, while also giving back to her old school team.
This year’s group of possible varsity players includes three seniors: Michael Johnson, Tyler Reed, and Esther Kung. Kung was unable to attend practice the day I showed up, but Smarrelli hopes she will be able to contribute during the season.
Michael Collord is the sole junior trying out for the team. He’s played golf for a while, but as he said, “This is the first year I was able to drive to practice,” making this also the first year he’s tried to make the Viking varsity.
A crowd of sophomores makes up the bulk of those seeking selection for the team. They include Ben Young, Christina Gooding, Rachel Hagan, Mason Jones, Maddie Baptiste, Tanner Nickerson, Quincy Duckworth, Karli Crispin, Sam Burton, twins Luke and Darren Branner, Mike DeStasio, and Grant Czerwinski. Jones and DeStasio were among the returning varsity players for the Vikings.
Gooding, Hagan, and Baptiste played on the state championship field hockey team last fall. Apparently the idea of sharply hitting a ball with a club appeals to them.
Five freshman round out the rest of the group, including Megan Paparo, Grayson Heckert, Chris Chiartas, Jack Ashby, and Jacob Kaplan.
The first match is not until March 25, so there’s a bit of time left to see who will make the varsity cut. Generally speaking, Smarrelli likes to have up to 10 players on the varsity. In-season switches back and forth with the junior varsity squad are a distinct possibility, depending on performance.
The varsity squad will divide their practice time between Rehoboth Beach Country Club and Kings Creek Country Club. The junior varsity members, once selected, will hone their skills at The Rookery South course near Milton.
“We have a good mix of players this year,” Smarrelli said. “I’m looking forward to a good season.”
Smarrelli, Krueger, and Purple also expressed their appreciation for the support given the Vikings by the local golf courses, as well as the businesses and individuals who have donated clubs, bags, and balls to the team.
Support for scholastic sports in the Cape Region is widespread, and one of the nice things about living here.