BEACON FALLS — The Woodland golf team didn’t exactly come out of nowhere last season when the Hawks put up a sterling 15-1 record and finished as the NVL runner-up. The Hawks have been progressing nicely over the past few seasons under head coach Bill Carangelo.
Woodland will have some big shoes to fill this season with the graduation of three seniors, including the team’s number one Mike Erickson, a four time All-NVL and two time All-State player. The Hawks also lost Owen Harris, who shot in the mid to high 40s last season, and Will Flormann, who finished sixth at the NVL championship meet last year with an 84, to graduation.
Those will be three tough spots to fill but the Hawks have been building this team for a few years.
“We definitely lost a talent in Mike Erickson,” said Carangelo, who is in his 12th year at the helm. “But I think we have a good solid one through three coming back. So far in the preseason we have looked good, but we do need to fill the number four spot.”
Leading the way this season will be three-year player and two-time All-NVL senior co-captain Ryan Warner, a 2011 Junior PGA champion. Warner shot an 89 at last year’s NVL championship and posted a score of 87 as a junior in the State Division III championship.
Senior co-captain Zach Crowell came along last season and was consistently shooting in the mid to low 40s in the second half of the season. The third piece of the starting foursome will be sophomore Julian Perino, who was named All-NVL as a freshman and worked his way into the lineup with an average in the mid 40s.
“It certainly will be tough to repeat the kind of season we had last year,” Carangelo said. “There really isn’t a whole lot of buzz going around the league as to who will be a strong contender, outside of Watertown.”
The Hawks got off to a great start last season and by the time they knocked of two-time NVL champion Holy Cross the league stood up and took notice. Woodland suffered their only regular season loss around midseason at the hands of eventual NVL champion Watertown.
The question of whether Woodland’s run was legitimate was answered loud and clear heading into the NVL championship when the Hawks upended Holy Cross a second time in a 172-174 victory.
Woodland has a few more pieces to be put in place to make another run in the league, but there could be a big drop-off between the top three and the next three in the lineup.
Junior Alec Feducia and sophomore Chris Guerrette have the inside track for the number four spot, with juniors Joshua Sierra and Thomas Giarratoa still in the running for the five and six spot. Another player who caught the coach’s attention is freshman Josh Hassan, who could make a push for one of the spots.
“There could be a ten stroke difference between the three and four spot,” Carangelo said. “Alec is working hard to knock strokes off his game and Chris is a little more polished this year. The goal is to do the best we can and try and close that gap between three and four. No one is expecting us to go 15-1 but if we do the best we can out on the course we will have a successful season.”
Woodland is scheduled to get the season started on April 12 at home at Oxford Greens against Crosby. The Hawks will then travel to Western Hills in Waterbury on April 14 to take on Kennedy.