Woodland rebuilding with young golfers

BEACON FALLS — With only one returning player on the Woodland golf team this year, coach Bill Carangelo knows that this spring might feature some wild shots and stray putts as the young Hawks learn the game.

“We have a young team,” Carangelo said. “We’re looking at this like a rebuilding year. We want the younger players to take lessons and work on their game over the summer so they can come back next year stronger. We don’t have a JV program, so we have to do it this way.”

Junior Tom Conroy is the only returner from last year’s five-player squad. He usually scored in the Hawks’ third or fourth spot in competition, but he should contend this season for the team’s top position.

Conroy is one of eight players on the roster, most of whom are rookies to the game.

“Of those eight, three have never played before,” Carangelo said. “I’m teaching them how to hit the golf ball. We’re spending a lot of time at the range. We went to the golf course for the first time (last Thursday) and I grouped together the four who I think will be our four scorers.”

Carangelo said he’s been impressed so far with the ability of freshman Mark Barbarino, whom he expects to be among the scorers this season.

The coach also thinks that the Hawks’ situation this year is typical of those being faced throughout the Naugatuck Valley League. Carangelo said teams such as Wolcott and Seymour are in similar rebuilding dilemmas.

“I don’t know what the long-term outlook for golf is in the NVL, honestly,” Carangelo said. “I don’t know whether this is an anomaly or what, but I hope more kids will start playing.”

Woodland is set to open the season against perennial NVL power Holy Cross on Tuesday at Oxford Greens. The Hawks will then face Wilby on April 11 and host Sacred Heart on April 16.