Ready for states

By John Goralski
Sports Writer
For the third day in a row, the Knights posted good scores but didn’t lower their differential. The match was already decided when Ryan Burrill’s 38 displaced one of his teammates to drop the team score to 147 on Thursday, May 29.
But it marked a new threshold in Southington’s rise among the state’s elite. With one regular season contest to go, the Knights have all but secured the No. 2 spot for the upcoming postseason. More importantly, the Knights (10-4-1) earned double digit victories for the first time since joining the CCC West.
“Over the last five years, we’ve been a state qualifying team every year. We’ve been among the top 20 in the state with a .500 record or slightly below,” said Southington coach Jim DiNello. “That goes to show that even though we’ve been a consistently good team, winning is tough in this division. It’s great to see our seniors reach this milestone in their last home match.  They have worked so hard to make this happen.”
The Knights are currently ranked second amongst Division I schools. Entering the postseason, Southington is the only team with a single digit differential (9.9), the measure between a team’s score and the course difficulty rating.
Greenwich (7.28) is the only team with a lower rating. That has fans excited as Southington enters the next phase of their journey.
The Knights will take on the conference on Thursday at the CCC championships in New Britain, and they’ll tackle the state competition on Monday, June 9 at Crestbrook Park in Watertown.
“It’s anybody’s game. There are going to be some great teams at both meets, so it’s going to take a special day of golfing to get it done,” said DiNello. “I think we have a shot. They’ve worked hard to position ourselves. We’re a confident group, and on any given day it could happen. That’s all you can ask for—a shot.”
Southington went 2-1 in their final full week of the regular season.
On Tuesday, sophomore Drew Szandrocha led all golfers, scoring a 3-under-par 33 at Rockledge Golf Course in West Hartford. Tom Fischer (40), Jake D’Alessandro (41), and Eric Flood (42) rounded out the score as the Knights cruised past Conard, 156-171.
On Wednesday, the boys returned home to face No. 4 Glastonbury. Szandrocha went 1-over-par to tie two Tomahawk golfers with a 33. D’Alessandro (38), Burrill (39) and Flood (41) scored for the Knights, but Southington lost, 145-153.
“You’re not going to play great every single day, but if you’re going to say that we’re having a bad day at 153, I’d say that’s fine,” said DiNello. “There are a lot of teams that would dream of shooting a 153.”
On Thursday, the Knights capped the week with a 147-187 win over New Britain. Flood (35) earned medalist honors.
D’Alessandro (36), Dave Valentukonis (38), and Burrill (38) scored for the Knights.
Now, the Knights have one more chance to perfect their game before switching to the 18-hole postseason format. Are they ready? We’ll find out.
“I can’t wait,” said DiNello. “They’re dedicated golfers, and I think they’re excited to play 18 holes of golf. It’s going to be fun.”

By John Goralski Dave Valentukonis chips onto the green during a win over Conard.

By John Goralski
Dave Valentukonis chips onto the green during a win over Conard.

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