SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Through the coming weeks until the end of June, TAPintoSPF is taking a look at the spring sports seasons that were supposed to take place but never did because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coming off of a sectional title in 2018 and a county championship in 2019, the golf program at Scotch Plains-Fanwood has become accustomed to excellence. Despite a few departing golfers from the prior year, head coach Ryan Goracy believed this year’s squad would once again return to prominence.

“Even after losing a couple kids, you never know what is going to happen,” Goracy said. “And I thought these guys had worked their way to the spot where they were going to seize the opportunity and turn some heads and surprise some people.”

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He believed this from the consistency of chasing perfection from the senior class.

“The biggest thing I can say for all of them is that they all have incredible work ethic and the drive to keep the program going at the level of success there has been over the last couple years. They wanted to take their turns and keep the train going.”

Michael Besante
Elizabethan College, Mechanical Engineering

Coach Goracy: “Mike was new to golf in high school. He grew up as a baseball player and an injury caused him to switch away from baseball. He was new to the sport when he came to me, and he worked really hard and dug in. He got the gold bug, as people say, he always wanted to play, all he wanted to do.”

“This was going to be his year to step up and definitely contribute.”

Patrick Bourke
Georgia Tech, Mechanical Engineering

Coach Goracy: “Patrick was a more polished player coming into high school. He has golf in his blood. His father liked to play, he was a caddie when he was younger, and Patrick did the same thing.”

“He has been more a contributor all four years. He has been contributing at the varsity level since he was a freshman. Each year he would contribute a bit more than the previous year. He was going to be the number one on the team. He was very knowledgeable, always willing to share his knowledge with less experienced players and talk about strategy.”

“I always stress playing smart out there and he was someone who always echoed my thoughts, and he was someone who always had his teammates play to the best of their ability and minimize their mistakes.”

James Cirillo
University of Pittsburgh, Undecided

Coach Goracy: “I believe James was ready to breakout this season. He has been working really hard on his game and it was all about to come together. 2020 is a tough year for every graduating senior, but for kids like James who put time and effort into helping develop a team as they came through the ranks, it is a bit more bitter than sweet.”

“I am definitely going to miss this senior class. I am grateful for their hard work and dedication to the program, and I am sad they did not get the opportunity to compete during their senior season. They will definitely continue to play this great game and I am sure I will see them on the course again soon. I wish them all the best, and I am hopeful that the colleges accepting these five young men will appreciate how hard they have worked and the character they have built.”

Robert Dencker
Marist College, Sports Communication

Coach Goracy: “Robert’s demeanor rarely changes on the golf course. He is always smiling and making the best of his round. Every golfer has good and bad days, but for this kid every day is worth cheering for your teammates and enjoying yourself. That is the sign of a good golfer and great teammate.”

Jonathon Yu
Yale University, Computer Science

Coach Goracy: “He and Patrick Burke were the two leaders of the team who have been contributing for three plus years. Both have quite a bit of varsity experience going into their senior season.”

“John always had very high standards for himself. He loved the competition. Always wanted a little bit more. Even when he went out and shot a great number, he would always focus on what he did well but ways he could improve.”

Jonathan Yu is the salutatorian of the Class of 2020 at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.

Related: Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Hosts Online Senior Awards.

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