For the second straight year, the Bishop Hendricken golf team closed the regular season in first place in the Central Division by topping Toll Gate last week 168-215 at Warwick Country Club.
Ben DeFelice led Hendricken with a match-low score of 39, while Justin Richard finished close behind at 41 and Jack Georgeu 42.
Will Niles led Toll Gate with a score of 45, while Cameron Martin finished at 47.
The Hawks finished with an undefeated record and are the favorite to take home their second straight state title next week, and their sixth championship overall.
“We won the division again with an undefeated season, going into the season we set that as a goal,” said Bishop Hendricken coach Rick Angeli. “Now we have a week to work to get ready for the state championship. I like the way we’re trending, there’s a few other good teams out there. Wheeler, Moses Brown, La Salle, Barrington, a few teams that I think are going to really be in the mix. It’s going to be a dogfight, it’s going to be a challenge.”
Although the Hawks were considered one of the top teams in the state from the early going, that does not mean they did not have adversity to overcome.
Hendricken’s roster did not boast the same depth as it has in year’s past, and Angeli was forced to lean on a handful of inexperienced golfers to push through. However, the Hawks responded and enjoyed one of the program’s best years in its history.
“The division hasn’t been as deep as it traditionally has been in recent years so we’ve had the luxury of being successful within the division. We have a different team this year than in past years. Traditionally we have had an extremely deep team from 1-6 and it’s always tough to repeat. We were able to win the state championship, I don’t have quite as deep of a team that we had last year but we have guys that are very capable. We have guys that have played a lot of good golf this year and we’re going to need their best (at the state championship,)” said Angeli, who likes the mix of talent he does have on the roster.
“Colin Sutyla is our top guy and I fully expect him to be in the mix for the individual state championship. Ben DeFelice and Jack Georgeu are two guys that we rely on. They’ve played some good golf for us this year. We’ve had a few guys that had never played varsity golf coming into this year like Jared Lind and Justin Richard. They’ve come along really nicely and I think they’re going to be a big part of our success,” said Angeli.
The Hawks will now shift their focus on next Tuesday’s state title match. Although Hendricken will enter the event confident, it is prepared to take the other teams’ best shots on the course.
“I think they feel good with where they’re at, I don’t think there’s any overconfidence,” said Angeli. “We’ve seen all the other teams, winning the Challenge Cup over those teams really helped our confidence. You’ve got to play well to win. Every team is in the same boat, we have to play well. We put in a lot of hard work so now we just have to see what we can achieve.”