By BRIAN JENNINGS
It was the first time in years that the Blue Knight golf team played the same course for the state championship that they played for the conference championship. The only differences were the weather and the field.
The Knights placed in the top 10 at the conference championship on a clear day that featured warm temperatures against competition that they were mostly familiar with. However, they placed outside of the top 10 at the state championship on a rainy day that brought unseasonably cold temperatures against mostly unfamiliar, tougher competition.
Southington coach Jim DiNello said that he hoped the familiarity of playing at the same venue twice would have helped them, but it didn’t.
“We had a few big numbers and did okay, in regard to taking penalty shots today, except for a couple of spots,” said DiNello. “The putting aspect wasn’t too bad today on huge greens that were, believe it or not, still fast, even though they were wet. When you’re playing against the 19 best teams in Division I, you need to have four guys play really well, in order to win.
Division I Championship
JUNE 4—The Knights returned to Stanley Golf Course in New Britain for the Division I Championship after playing in the conference championship there four days earlier, where they tied for 12th out of 20 teams with a score of 328 (44-over-par).
As he did in the conference championship and for most of the regular season, Max Chubet marshaled the Knights. He tied for 27th out of 100 golfers with a 7-over-par 78.
“Max was tremendous, and he has been all year,” said DiNello. “I can’t really say enough about Max. He’s obviously going to be a force to be reckoned with in his junior and senior year on the individual side. We clearly need to keep improving around him, the same way he’s improved from last year to this year.”
Shawn McKnerney (T39th, 80), CJ McManus (T66th, 85), Austin Carta (T66th, 85), and Cameron Zegzdryn (T82nd, 90) contributed as well.
DiNello said that McKnerney and Carta carded good rounds.
“Both of those guys are going to have very bright careers,” said DiNello. “They’re going to have really terrific junior and senior years.”
DiNello said that he thought McManus really grinded out there on Monday.
“He opened with a double, but he found a way to scramble his way around the course for an 85,” said DiNello. “I’m sure he would tell you that he could have done better, but he really fought and tried to do some things.”
Greenwich (293, 9-over-par) edged Darien (297, 13-over-par) by four strokes to win its sixth CIAC Division I title (seventh overall). Jackson Fretty held off Xavier’s Chris Fosdick (70, 1-under-par) by a pair of strokes to lead the Cardinals to the title as medalist of the championship, even though Fosdick made a hole-in-one during the round.
The Knights will still have a shot at the state open, but the Division I championship marks the end of the team competition. Southington finished the regular season at 10-4-1 overall. DiNello said that he is proud of his guys. They beat every team in their division, at least once, except Simsbury.
“I don’t think that there were too many teams out there with three guys in their lineup that were 10th-grade or younger,” said DiNello. “That’s something to be excited about. They were a fun bunch to coach, and the senior leadership was really, quite good.”
The Knights are losing four golfers to graduation after this season, including CJ McManus and Cameron Zegzdryn.
MAY 31—The Knights entered the postseason on Thursday with a trip to Stanley where they placed sixth out of 25 teams with a score of 323 in the CCC Championship. Golfers played the red (par 35) and white (par 36) courses.
Chubet paced the Knights by tying for sixth out of 104 golfers with a 4-over-par 75. Zegzdryn (T17th, 79), Carta (T27th, 82), and McKnerney (T49th, 87) contributed as well.
Avon (306) cleared Simsbury (311) by five strokes to win the CCC title. East Catholic (316) came in third, and Berlin (320) and Conard (320) tied for fourth. Hall’s Mac Mahoney was medalist of the championship with a 1-under-par 70.
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.