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2019 Upper Valley high school golf preview

  • Lebanon High junior Stephen Krueger watches his shot from the ninth tee of Grantham’s Eastman Golf Links. The Raiders’ numbers are slightly down this season, with 15 players on the roster. (Valley News — Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Mid Vermont Christian's Nick Leary sends his tee ball down the 10th fairway at Woodstock Country Club during a round last fall. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Stevens' Reeve Wilkinson, left, and Lebanon's Ben Begin watch a shot during their golf meet at the Claremont Country Club on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in Claremont, N.H (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Stevens' Dylan Adamovich watches his putt during a meet at the Claremont Country Club on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, in Claremont, N.H(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dean

  • Vanderpot



Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A summer of preparation on the links and some great weather for early-season practices has the Upper Valley’s high school golf teams looking forward to a strong fall season.

In Vermont, a lack of players for many of the smaller schools has led the VPA to condense the Division II and Division III state tournaments into one event. Hartford High is led by a group of four returning seniors, including Brady Hathorn, who is fresh off a summer in which he won the Vermont Junior Match Play tournament and qualified for the Vermont Amateur. The Hurricanes will have every expectation of improving on their third-place finish in last season’s VPA D-II state tournament.

Windsor and Woodstock each failed to form a full team for state tournaments last season, but both now feature enough players for team scores. Each squad is strong at the top, with the Yellowjackets led by senior Dylan DeSchamp and the Wasps by the upperclass duo of Kyle Gebhardt and Emily Dean.

Long an NHIAA Division II powerhouse, Hanover took its lumps in 2018 during its debut season in D-I. Longtime coach John Donnelly will lead a team this season that features senior Jack Meehan, who was sixth in the D-I state individual tournament. Donnelly hopes to have the Marauders in contention by season’s end. Lebanon High was hit hard by graduation but now has a young team showing plenty of promise for the future.

Hanover

Coach: John Donnelly (17 years).

Last Year: Fourth in regular season standings, sixth in states. Peter Lukovits and Jack Meehan tied for sixth in the state individual tournament.

League: NHIAA Division I.

Home Course: Hanover Country Club.

Returnees: Seniors — Patrick Daley, Justin Alderdice, Jack Meehan, Tristan Meyer, Meredith Morhun, Cameron Woods.

Newcomers: Juniors — Will Cahoon, Natalie Morhun. Sophomore — Spencer Lawe.

Analysis: Jack Meehan and Patrick Daley are the two most experienced players at the varsity level and will be counted on to be team leaders. Look for Spencer Lawe to make an impact in his first season. Sisters Meredith and Natalie Morhun will also be key members of the team, Donnelly said.

Hartford

Coach: Mike Hathorn (5).

Last Year: 15-13, third in VPA Division II state tournament.

Leagues: VPA Division II, Southern Vermont Conference.

Home Course: Quechee Club.

Returnees: Seniors — Brady Hathorn, Jared Vanderpot, Justin Jasmin, Logan Raymond.

Newcomers: Senior — Matthew Roberts. Freshman — Joseph Barwood.

Analysis: Each of the four returning seniors has at least three years of varsity experience and Hartford looks for its best season in years. Brady Hathorn, son of coach Mike Hathorn, qualified for the Vermont Amateur in July.

“They all have a lot of tournament experience; it will be fun to see them play this season,” Mike Hathorn said. “Golf is such a great sport for a lifetime. I’m happy to be able to see this group grow, and I know as their senior year completes, their golf journeys will continue.”

Lebanon

Coach: Chris Pollard (12).

Last Year: Eighth in state tournament, based on regular-season standing (state team tourney rained out). Kyle Pelletier finished second in the D-III individual tournament.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Home Course: Eastman Golf Club, Grantham.

Returnees: Juniors — Joe Roberts, Stephen Krueger, Ben Begin. Sophomore — Zach Bitler.

Newcomers: Juniors — Ben Gillis, Charlie Cloud. Sophomore — Nathan Stark. Freshmen — Alex Blish, Roy Shapard.

Analysis: The Raiders lost five seniors, including Kyle Pelletier, to graduation, so Pollard will lead a team with plenty of new faces. Stephen Krueger and Ben Begin have the most varsity experience of the returnees. The freshman duo of Alex Blish and Alex Shapard could carve out roles immediately after practicing with the varsity team during their seventh- and eighth-grade years.

“One thing I like about a younger team is the potential. We have a lot of depth, and it looks like this year we have quite a few guys who can contribute. They’re only going to get better,” Pollard said.

Mid Vermont Christian

Co-coaches: Kent Dahlberg (14) and John Bishop (4).

Last Year: Allie Leary and Nick Leary both competed as individuals in postseason tournaments. Allie was 11th in the VPA girls individual tournament and qualified for New Englands.

League: VPA Division III.

Home Course: Quechee Club.

Returnees: Senior — Nick Leary. Junior — Henry Mossell. Sophomore — Jonathan Winter.

Newcomer: Sophomore — Charlotte Crouse.

Analysis: Leary has a passion for golf and plenty of varsity experience to lead a young Eagle team. Mid Vermont Christian has a small enrollment, so numerous middle school players are practicing with the high school students. Anyone from eighth grade onward will be eligible for varsity play.

“We are in a rebuilding cycle with mostly younger players who are new to the game,” Dahlberg said. “We’ll be working with them to nurture their commitment and skills.”

Newport

Coach: Ed Oberhofer (1).

Last Year: 0-18, missed state tournament.

League: NHIAA Division IV.

Home Course: Newport Golf Club.

Returnees: Senior — Scott Graham. Freshman — Kentin Rowell.

Analysis: Oberhofer has just two players committed, so far, to the golf team for this fall. He will be focused on rebuilding the program at Newport and recruiting additional players to come out for the team.

Stevens

Co-coaches: Ryan Seaver (5) and Ian MacDonald (3).

Last Year: 6-18, missed state team tournament. Finn Allen and Dylan Adamovich tied for 15th at the NHIAA Division III individual tournament.

League: NHIAA Division III.

Home Course: Claremont Country Club.

Returnees: Juniors — Finn Allen, Dylan Adamovich. Sophomores — C.J. Naugler, Reeve Wilkinson, Matt Eagan.

Newcomers: Freshmen — Cedric Allen, Luke Smith.

Analysis: The Cardinals will look to take a step forward this season as they return all of last year’s roster.

Finn Allen and Dylan Adamovich each look to build on strong sophomore seasons a year ago, and freshman Cedric Allen will contribute immediately.

Eagan has put a lot of practice time into golf and is ready for a larger role.

“These kids put a ton of work in over the winter, hitting on simulators and improving their games,” co-coach Ryan Seaver said.

“It’s going to be an exciting season.”

Windsor

Coach: Pat Allen (7).

Last Year: Three individuals represented the Yellowjackets in the state sectional tournament.

League: VPA Division II.

Home Course: John P. Larkin Country Club, Windsor.

Returnees: Senior — Dylan DeSchamp. Junior — Cooper Bevis. Sophomore — Bryce Moody.

Newcomers: Sophomore — Noah Buchanan. Freshmen — Liam Attwood, David Hall.

Analysis: Captain DeSchamp looks to cap his high school career with another strong season. Bevis and Moody each picked up varsity experience last season and will be key members of the team. The three newcomers each have experience playing golf but will be new to competitive golf. The Yellowjackets are moving up to VPA Division II this season.

“Our aim this year is to lower our individual scoring averages and have a full team compete at the state qualifying events,” Allen said. “We are now in D-II, so we will have very tough competition.”

Woodstock

Coach: Larry Wentzel (4).

Last Year: Emily Dean qualified for New Englands as an individual.

League: VPA Division II.

Home Course: Woodstock Country Club.

Returnees: Senior — Kyle Gebhardt. Juniors — Emily Dean, Aaron Wilson. Sophomores — Liam Harper, Chris Bradley, Will Duane.

Newcomers: Freshmen — Ethan Dean, Jacoby Carey.

Analysis: The Wasps did not have enough players to field a full team at the end-of-season tournaments a year ago, a problem that should not be an issue this fall.

Captains Kyle Gebhardt and Emily Dean will lead a deep team sparked by a pair of freshmen, Ethan Dean (Emily’s brother) and Jacoby Carey (son of Woodstock boys basketball coach Joel Carey) who should make an immediate impact.

“I’m very optimistic that we can compete,” Wentzel said.

“We have the numbers. Not sure they’re all golfers yet, but they’ve been coming in ready to practice and play.”