Baltimore County set for big year

Experience is abundant for Dulaney, Pikesville

Golf preview

High Schools

September 10, 2004|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In a season in which each local area should have several good golf teams, Baltimore County might feature some of the best talent anywhere.

Dulaney, Franklin and Pikesville will likely be among the top teams in the state as well as the county. Pikesville finished second in the state in last year's Class 1A-2A tournament, continuing a recent hot streak during which it finished second in 1998 and won the title in 2000 and 2001.

Michelle Grilli won the girls individual state crown last year and returns as Pikesville's No. 1 player this fall. Senior Brandon Resnick, junior Brad Friedman plus senior Dan Halle give the Panthers an experienced lineup despite the loss of three starters.

"We [have] a pretty deep team," said Pikesville coach Nick DePace. "I think we have at least seven players who can make an impact."

Dulaney won last year's county championship and finished eighth in the Class 3A-4A state tournament. Despite losing individual county champion Kevin Parks to graduation, the Lions return several key golfers starting with seniors Marlowe Boukis and Jimmy Chuasiriporn plus junior Mike Krug. Boukis finished fifth among the girls at the state tournament.

Franklin greets new coach Howard Spears with a strong lineup after taking ninth in the Class 3A-4A state tournament. Junior Tony Jaffa, seniors Jared Genova and Erik Bosley and junior Andrew Scilipote give the Indians a solid top four capable of shooting in the 70s.

"We've got six kids that can get [good scores]," Spears said. "They play well and they can focus."

Harford County also features several good teams. C. Milton Wright faces a battle in defending its county crown as North Harford, Aberdeen, Bel Air and Fallston are among those teams with matching talent.

C.M. Wright lost some key golfers from last year's county title team, but the Mustangs still have plenty of talent left. Senior Dave Pennington and sophomore Jeff Childes should lead the way along with Shane Bernard (senior) and others.

"We have some depth," C.M. Wright coach Jim McNicholas said. "I'll be able to mix and match my lineup depending on the match." North Harford tied for fourth in the Class 1A-2A state tournament and has started 4-0 this season with a senior-laden lineup. Seniors Brad Gerick, Matt Betz, Curt Pedri and Jack Hickey give the Hawks a strong group that beat C.M. Wright in an early-season match and tied the Mustangs in a seven-team tournament before losing on the first extra hole.

Junior Patrick Hinch is the returning Class 1A-2A state champion, and he'll lead an improved Aberdeen team this fall. Junior Derek Buckley and freshman Anthony Vincenti also will help the Eagles. Bel Air took fifth in the state Class 3A-4A tournament and also should make some noise.

Northeast senior Stephanie Connelly should again be Anne Arundel County's top player. She finished second in last year's Class 3A-4A state tournament, losing by one stroke after winning titles her first two years. Connelly will play No. 1 for Northeast while senior Matt Moylan and junior Cody King give the Eagles a strong top three.

But South River and Severna Park tied for the county title last year and should battle again, along with Broadneck and others. Senior Eddie Milligan and junior Riley Owens should lead South River, who lost county champion Ryan Moreland.

Severna Park, who went on to win the District V title last year, has strong groups of both boys and girls. Seniors Mitch Van Zandt and Brandon O'Brien plus sophomore Eric Florenz join sophomores Christine Flack and Kelly Lynch to give the Falcons more talent.

"We have a great nucleus coming back this year," Severna Park coach Paul Pellicani said.

The tide should be changing in Carroll County where Century and North Carroll will likely be the teams to beat this fall.

North Carroll won its first two matches and should get help from senior Jon Walker, who tied for eighth in the Class 3A-4A state tournament. Kevin Grady should spark a young Century team that has played well early.

Winters Mill also could be a surprise this fall, jumping to a 5-1 start this season thanks to players such as Matt Frock. The Falcons had never won a county match before this fall - and already have surprised Liberty.

Westminster won last year's county title, just ahead of a Liberty team that took sixth in last year's Class 1A-2A state tournament, but graduation has been costly to both schools.

Liberty lost three of its top four golfers but has senior Justin Cunningham and junior Kevin Pugh returning. Graduation cost Westminster its top four golfers, and the Owls don't have any experienced starters back.

Howard County and Baltimore City don't have official programs, but individuals can play on their own.

Senior Wilbert Lynn III from City tied for 11th in the Class 2A-1A state tournament last year and could go higher this year after a summer during which he won the Maryland Junior Amateur championship.

Sabih Iqbal, Justin Fabling and Brandon McFarlane from River Hill have played well early on, along with Wilde Lake's Jared Fernandez and Blair Burnett.

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