Hawks on course for ascension

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Woodland junior Ryan Warner, left, and senior Mike Erickson will captain the golf team on the links this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland junior Ryan Warner, left, and senior Mike Erickson will captain the golf team on the links this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys golf team comes into the season loaded with four of its five impact players returning.

The Hawks went 11-9 in the regular season last year to record their first winning campaign in quite some time under head coach Bill Carangelo.

Woodland also put on a solid show in the Division III state tournament last year. Senior Mike Erickson shot a 79, which tied him for 15th among the 100 golfers in the tournament. Junior Ryan Warner shot an 87 to land him in the top 40.

The dynamic duo led Woodland in last year’s NVL tournament as well. Erickson shot a team-best 44 and Warner was right behind at 46, as the Hawks finished sixth in the league.

“The last few seasons we have been moving up the ladder,” Carangelo said. “This year we return the most experienced team I’ve had here. Whether that’s enough to continue to move up in the ranking remains to be seen.”

Erickson is a four-year starter and has improved his game every season. He will be relied on to be the team’s number one out on the course. Warner has steadily moved up the ladder each season and is ready to make a statement this year.

“We have been right on the cusp in recent years,” Carangelo said. “Having everyone back this season, this could be our year. We know what Holy Cross and Watertown brings to the match, but we need to remember we are not playing a team we are playing the course.”

If the Hawks can stay focused on playing the course they have a shot at making some noise. Senior Will Flormann adds a little drive to the ball and junior Zach Crowell can put a charge into the ball as well.

“We have some heavy hitters,” Carangelo said. “Having a player like Will can give us an edge. Zach has been working hard at the indoor range to improve his game. But it all comes down to putting.”

Carangelo said the key will be consistency from the four and five spots.

“We have always had that solid one through three in the lineup and then we would fall short by not getting consistency out of the four and five spots,” he said. “If we can get some solid scores at the end of the lineup we can be competitive.”

Senior Owen Harris is another experienced golfer who can add to the lower scores this season. Sophomores Alec Feducia, Thomas Giarratoa and Joshua Sierra will be looking to push for the fourth and fifth spot in the lineup.

“If we can get away from the high 50s and 60s that the four and five spots have produced the last few years we can compete with the best of them,” Carangelo said. “There is going to be some strong competition for those last two spots, and I also have a couple of freshman who can hit the ball real well.”

The Hawks will have a little bit of depth with the addition of freshmen Julian Palino and Chris Gurrette. The team is still a work in progress until they can get outside on the course and show their game.

“The first few matches are going to tell us a lot about where we are and where we need to be,” Carangelo said.

Woodland is scheduled to start the season Monday at East Mountain in Waterbury versus Crosby. On Tuesday, the Hawks will be home at Oxford Greens against Kennedy, before finishing a busy first week of the season April 23 at Farmingbury Country Club to take on Wolcott.