Mainland’s varsity co-ed golf team bounced back from a losing 8-9 record and the loss of 11 of their top 13 players in 2011 to make it to this season’s NJSIAA 2012 State Championship Golf Finals qualifiers.
The Mustangs ended their regular season 15-3 on Wednesday, May 16, with their second season loss to St. Augustine.
Mainland also fell to Vineland on May 9.
But that was it in the loss department. Everything else was coming up wins.
“There were a few disappointing losses, but mostly good wins,” Colin Roche, Mainland’s top competitor, said. “Coming into this season we knew we were going to be a lot better than last year. We knew we’d be better and we’d just have to keep improving.”
To qualify for states, the Mustangs finished among the top two teams in Group III in the sectional tournament on May 14 at Running Deer Golf Club in Pittsgrove Township. Middle Township also qualified for states in Group III.
Roche played as an individual in the 2011 State Championships, and placed 16th overall, Mainland head coach Dan Reardon said.
“Last year we didn’t even qualify for sectionals. This year we made Sectionals and states,” John Petronis, Mainland’s second-ranked golfer, said. “I knew we would do a lot better (this season), but I didn’t know we would do this well.”
Reardon said that while the team has no seniors, they do have six solid players who can score in each match.
The top six include Roche, Petronis, Anthony Godleski, first-year player Henry Jungels, Jay Feldman and Nick Lawless.
Each was within one or two strokes of the player ahead of him.
Feldman and Jungels were even closer, within tenths of a stroke of the other, Reardon said.
“They all contributed at one time or another,” Reardon said. “That’s the beauty of having six kids who can score. When one guy would have a bad round, another would have a good round.”
Against St. Augustine on May 16, three players had a strong performance, Reardon said. Three others did not.
“That killed us,” Reardon said.
It also nearly tied them.
Mainland fell to St. Augustine by only two strokes.
“We played all right, we just didn’t have our best game when we needed it,” Roche said.
Roche said that St. Augustine did not qualify for the state championships.
However, Reardon expected stiff competition for Monday’s competition, mostly from northern schools including Bergen Catholic and Burlington Township.
“We’ve all gotten better over the season, even more so this season than last year,” Reardon said. “We’d like to win Group III and, of course, if we could play a really good round we’d like to win the whole thing, the whole state championship.”
We have a chance. You never know what might happen,” Reardon said.
Reardon estimated that with no graduating seniors this season, Mainland’s team will be even stronger in coming years.
Mustangs finish third
in Group III
Burlington Township won the Group III State Championship Monday with a combined score of 303. Tenafly was second with a 324 and the Mainland Regional Golf Team finished third with 339 points. Roche shot a 79, Petronis an 83, Jungels an 88 and Godleski and 89. Scotch Plains-Fanwood was fourth with a 350.