Youth movement to fuel Hawks

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Woodland junior Andy O’Dell sinks a birdie putt last season at Oxford Greens in Oxford. The Hawks headed into the season looking to build on a seventh place finish in last year’s Naugatuck Valley League championship. –FILE PHOTO
Woodland junior Andy O’Dell sinks a birdie putt last season at Oxford Greens in Oxford. The Hawks headed into the season looking to build on a seventh place finish in last year’s Naugatuck Valley League championship. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland golf team is still a young group coming into its own, according to head coach Bill Carangelo.

Last year the Hawks finished 4-8 in Carangelo’s first season as head coach. Woodland showed how much it had improved throughout the season with a solid seventh-place finish in the Naugatuck Valley League championship tournament.

Holy Cross, Torrington and Watertown all came into the championship tournament sporting 10-1 ledgers. It was the most competitive league tournament in years, but the young Hawks held their own, posting a team score of 374 to finish in seventh place.

Mike Erickson was the team’s standout player last year as a freshman and comes into his sophomore season as the team’s No. 1 player. Erickson was the medalist in a late-season match against Naugatuck last year when he shot a 41 over nine holes. He went on to shoot an 86 at the NVL championships, one of only six golfers to score in the 80s.

“We have a young team again this year,” Carangelo said. “Our No. 1 is Erickson, only a sophomore, and our No. 2 is a freshman, Ryan Warner. We certainly are looking to be more competitive and finish up with a better record than we had last year.”

Warner won his first PGA junior tournament in 2011, claiming the Frank Pringle nine-hole title in Westfield, Mass., by shooting a 1-over 37. As a freshman at Woodland this year, Warner is looking to be a solid No. 2 on the varsity team.

Woodland will also have some solid upperclassmen to round out the squad, blending both youth and experience to improve on last year’s win total.

Seniors Matt Greggis, Mike Classey and Chris Mascoli will team up with junior Andy O’Dell to give the Hawks a formidable one-through-six rotation. Woodland also has underclassmen aside from Erickson and Warner who can help with practice competition and potentially earn spots in varsity matches.

“We have several freshmen who will make up the JV squad,” Carangelo said. “At least one of them will get some match time on the varsity level if they continue to improve.”

Woodland opened the season Wednesday with an away match against Kennedy. The results of the match were not available as of this post. The Hawks will face Watertown on Thursday at Crestbrook Park before traveling to East Hampton on April 17.