SCARSDALE, N.Y.— The Somers varsity golf team knew it was in for a tough match as the Tuskers traveled to Scarsdale last week to face the Raiders on the course at Fenway Country Club.
Scarsdale is one of the top teams in the section this spring with a record of 11-1, while Somers fields a young lineup that includes no seniors, only one junior, and mostly freshmen and eighth graders.
The veteran Scarsdale squad was too much for the Tuskers as the Raiders cruised to a 205-232 victory.
However, the young Tuskers have been close in every other match this season as they continue to impress Somers coach Leigh Fiorito.
“We have been competitive in every match but Scarsdale this year and I look forward to watching this young team get better and better as they enjoy the inter-team challenge,” Fiorito said. “We are looking for great things next year.”
Fiorito knew it was going to be a challenge this year with a young lineup after losing five senior starters to graduation, including veteran Christian Cavaliere, one of the best golfers in Somers history who is now playing at the collegiate level at Boston College.
“Losing Christian and our other four starters to graduation has left a huge void,” Fiorito admitted. “As a result we have no seniors this year and our only junior is captain Dylan Verderame. Our medalist is sophomore returning starter and New York State team member Nathan Han. The remainder of our team is first year varsity players that include sophomore Brett MacDonald, freshmen Bo Concannon, Doug Shirakura and L.J. Shaw, and eighth-graders James Farina and Ava Minisolo. Although very young for a varsity team, these golfers have averaged a team score of 217 for the year.”
After the loss to Scarsdale, the Tuskers now stand at 5-8 overall on the year, with a 4-4 record in league play.
That record doesn’t tell the whole story as three of those losses were by just one stroke in matches against Brewster, John Jay-Cross River and Yorktown. Especially in those tight matches decided by a single stroke, experience comes into play as the young Somers squad continues to learn on the course.
“The biggest change for me is watching the decision making going on during a match,” Fiorito said. “Younger players sometimes forget to include all the options open to them within the rules to play their next shot. Focus is also much different. This team, if left to play on their own, would finish nine holes in under two hours. That’s admirable in some ways but it’s due to not taking sufficient time to read the course.”
One highlight throughout the year has been the play of Han as the experienced veteran leader of the team. After emerging as a freshman last year to earn a spot on the Section 1 New York State team, Han has continued to shine this year as one of the top golfers in the section.
Han finished second in the match against Scarsdale with a score of 40, three strokes behind medalist Sol Thompson of Scarsdale. His low round for the season was a 32 at Hollowbrook.
Another big match for Han was against John Jay as he squared off against Kyra Cox, another one of the top contenders to win the Section 1 crown.
“Nathan is the leader of the team and he’s shooting extremely well this year,” Fiorito said of Han. “He is continuously working on his game and continues to be our workhorse. He is generous with his time and talents working with our younger players on weekends to help improve team play. This year at Waccabuc against John Jay, not only did he have the challenge of facing Cox for the No. 1 spot, but he was studying for advanced placement exams in world history and statistics during the round. He shot a 38 and made it look easy. He reported that he did very well on the exams the next day as well. Not only did he make the cut for sectionals, but keep an eye on him as he tries to finish at the top of the Section 1 field.”
Han will compete in the Section 1 championships with the first round being played on Monday, May 22, at Waccabuc. He hopes to qualify once again to compete in the state championships at Cornell from June 2-5.