By KEVIN ROBERTS
There could be something special happening on local golf courses this season for Southington. The Blue Knights return a veteran core of juniors and seniors, and they plan on aiming for big goals.
“We are hoping to play great collectively on the days that are most important,” coach Jim DiNello said. “A conference championship and a state championship are within reach if that happens.”
Seniors Colby Zegrzdyn and Corey Hemsen return to the fold for Southington. The returning juniors are: Max Chubet, Austin Carta, Shawn McKnerney and Jake Napoli.
The Blue Knights finished sixth in the CCC tournament, then tied for 12th overall at the Division I state tournament. Southington lost a pair of solid seniors in Cam Zegrzdyn and C.J. McManus to graduation.
“I’m hoping for the returnees to pick up the pace as Cam was top five the last three years,” DiNello said. “C.J. was awesome for us for four years.”
Chubet shot the lowest scores for Southington at both the CCC and Division I tournaments. He had a 76 in the CCC tournament, then shot 78 in Division I. Cam Zegrzdyn had the second-lowest score (79) for the Knights at the CCC tournament, followed by Carta (82) and McKnerney (87).
McKnerney followed Chubet’s 78 with an 80 at the Division I tournament. McManus and Carta both carded an 85 while Cam Zegzdryn tallied a 90.
“All of the guys bring a very calm, even-keeled approach to the game, which really helps them,” DiNello said. “They all bring the ability to put together really low rounds.
DiNello added: “Most of all, they bring experience.”
DiNello will emphasize that it’s OK to take a bogey instead of trying to hit a “miraculous shot.”
“We must avoid big numbers on a hole,” DiNello said. “They can all make birdies, so just take the bogey sometimes and move on.”
Southington has seven matches scheduled for April, including the season opener against Conard on Tuesday at Rockledge Golf Course in West Hartford.
“That means half a schedule in very iffy weather,” DiNello said. “We have always been a warm weather team, and I’m sure most teams would say that. We’re hoping we get some nice April weather.”
The home opener was scheduled for Thursday, April 4 against Avon at Hawks Landing Country Club.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com