VERONA, NJ - With a score of 72, Jack Strippoli led the Verona boys golf team to its first sectional title since 1999 -- earning the individual trophy for himself as well.  He followed that up with a score of 75 at the Tournament of Champions to earn an individual state championship title for himself.  Strippoli is the TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Hillbilly Athlete of the Week. 

Golfing for 11 years, Strippoli said he loves the sport because it's fun and relaxing.  He picked up the sport because his dad played and began his golf career hitting balls in the back yard.  All of that practicing had paid off with a pretty stellar season for the VHS junior.

"I feel like I've been really focused this year and that's paying off," Strippolis said.  "I think my driving and accuracy have been my biggest strengths."

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With a winning record of 10-3, it has been a solid season for VHS golf but Strippoli said it has not been without challenges including tough matches against West Essex and Newark Academy which account for the team's three losses this season.  

"We tend to play a lot of newer teams which doesn't necessarily prepare us for more experienced teams," he explained.  "Then when we play teams like West Essex or Newark Academy it's harder to compete."

Like all spring sports this year, VHS golf was impacted by the cold, wet weather, which was a challenge they had to overcome early on.  

"The season started out rough because of the weather.  April was just so rainy and cold, but then it got better," he said.  "We qualified for states and then we won the Group 1 North 2 sectional title and I also won best individual score."

Though his VHS season is wrapping up, Strippoli has a whole lot more golf to look forward to this summer. 

"I'm hoping to continue to play well for the rest of the season and am looking forward to the summer when I play in lots of tournaments," he said.  "I'm hoping to shoot in the mid 30s for the rest of our regular season matches and then in the state tournament when we play 18 holes I want to shoot under par.  For the summer my goal is to win a few tournaments -- maybe more than a few."

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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