Golf season in full swing

Full-strength Hawks a force to be reckoned with, Greyhounds’ scores continue to improve

When the Woodland golf team has been at full strength this spring, the Hawks have been among the most competitive foursomes in the Naugatuck Valley League.

The problem is that the Hawks haven’t always been at full strength.

With just five golfers on the roster, Woodland has been forced to forfeit two matches this season. The most recent of those came Monday in a scheduled match against Naugatuck at Hop Brook Golf Course.

“I have five kids, so (the team is) not deep at all,” Woodland coach Bill Carangelo said. “If one or two can’t make it, we have to forfeit.”

Despite the depth woes, the Hawks have played well when their matches have counted. Last week, they earned wins over Wolcott (200-227 at Oxford Greens) and Kaynor Tech (171-247 at East Mountain).

Julian Perino, a three-time All-NVL honoree, claimed the medalist honors in both of those meets, carding a 45 against Wolcott and firing an impressive 2-under 34 against Kaynor Tech. Josh Hassan, a member of the All-Iron Division squad last year, also posted a solid round of 3-over 39 against Kaynor Tech.

With the Hawks’ top two players normally shooting solid rounds, Carangelo said his next goal is to help the next two golfers, Chris Guerrette and Tom Conroy, to improve their own scores.

“We want to get the No. 3 and 4 guys consistently under 50,” Carangelo said. “Josh and Julian are consistently in the 40s and occasionally in the high 30s, but we just need Chris and Tom to knock a few strokes off to get into the mid-40s.”

Their best efforts came against Kaynor Tech when Guerrette fired a 48 and Conroy a 50.

Woodland’s fifth golfer, junior Alec Robinson, is a rookie to the team and has been welcomed to provide some depth to the roster.

“He’s a real, real newbie,” Carangelo said. “We just have to bring him along and have him come back next year.”

On Wednesday, the Hawks improved to 5-3 with a 181-201 win over Seymour. Perino and Hassan led the Hawks with impressive rounds of 37 and 42. Gerrette shot a 50, and Conroy shot a round of 52.

Overall, Carangelo is pleased with the Hawks’ efforts so far despite the tough conditions that plagued local squads until this week.

“They’re off to a decent start,” Carangelo said. “They’re not knocking it out of the park, but we had a late start because of the weather so we lost a whole week.”

Woodland will host its annual Woodland Hawks Invitational on Thursday at Oxford Greens. The event has become one of the best-attended tournaments on the local high school golf schedule in recent years.

“It’s definitely a great thing to have,” Carangelo said. “It’s a nice thing that Oxford (Greens) does for us. We have 24 tee times, so we should have a great turnout.”

Naugy makes strides: The Naugatuck golf team recorded three of their best rounds of the season earlier this week as the Greyhounds continue to improve under first-year coach Pete Kovalski.

The ‘Hounds shot a team score of 236 in a 181-236 defeat against Holy Cross at Western Hills on Tuesday. But the real highlight of the week came in Monday’s scheduled match against Woodland, which the Greyhounds won by forfeit.

Despite the automatic victory, several Naugatuck golfers shot their best individual rounds of the season. Top player Arbnor Mehmedi carded a 48 at Hop Brook Golf Course, eight strokes better than he’d shot in any of Naugy’s first four matches. Ryan Hunt also tied his season-best with a 57. Madison Brink (58) and Mia Rotatori (60) also recorded their best scores of the season Monday, only to improve them again Tuesday against Holy Cross as both fired 56.

Brink’s score continued to drop on Wednesday as she shot earned medalist honors with a round of 47 against Wilby at Hop Brook to lead the Greyhounds to a 219-267 win. Mehmedi (59), Ryan Brink (57) and Derek McGrath (56) rounded out the scoring for Naugatuck (4-4).

After competing in the Woodland Hawks Invitational on Thursday, the Greyhounds will head to East Mountain on Monday to take on Sacred Heart.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article that appears in the May 4 print edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played after press time through May 2.