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August 23, 2008

 

Brand new look to Purple Tigers

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writer
There will be something of a different look to the Cortland High golf team this fall, starting at the top.
Yale Hughes, who was an assistant coach last season, takes over as head coach from Kevin Cafararo, who vacated the position he had held for 14 years when he was named the principal at Cortland Junior High School last month.
Hughes inherits a program that has won 32 straight matches heading into Tuesday’s non-league season-opener with Tully at Vesper Hills Golf Club. The Purple Tigers went 8-0 in the OHSL Freedom National Division to win the league championship for the third time in as many seasons since Section 3’s larger schools began playing in the fall, and were 13-0 overall with an average team score of 198.5 per match.
In those three seasons, CHS has gone 45-1, the lone loss actually a tie with Syracuse CBA in 2005 that was decided by matching the cards of the teams’ sixth men.
“There’s a little bit of pressure, stepping in with a strong team that hasn’t lost in two years,” Hughes said. “But we have a lot of depth, that’s our strength, and with just about everyone back I see no weaknesses.”
Some key players from 2007 are missing, most notably senior Matt Porter, who is playing football this fall. Porter went to the state tournament last spring (tying for 36th) after also having done so in 2005. Porter was a first-team all-leaguer the past two seasons, and averaged 37 per league round and 36.7 overall last fall. Lost to graduation were Nick Decker (all-league first team the last two seasons and team MVP last fall) and Steve Stowell (honorable mention a year ago, team Most Improved Player).
The top holdovers are senior Chris Pace (42/42.4) and juniors Jeff Brown (team Coaches’ Award, 40.5/41.7) and Mike Congdon (42.7/41.1), all three of whom were second-team all-leaguers in ‘07. Also back are seniors Ryan Wanish (42.7/40.8 in ‘07; second team all-league in ‘06), Chris Yamamoto, Nate West, Keegan Bush, Matt Stevens, Trevor Williamson and Drew Petrella and juniors Chris Broyles and Eric Reisweber.
New to the team this fall are senior Nicolo Baldarotta, sophomore Alex Stevens (Matt’s cousin) and freshmen Kody Becker and Steve Lissberger.
“Losing three of our top four men from last year, it doesn’t look like we’ll be a strong as we were last year,” Hughes said. “But that gives other kids the opportunity to step up. The key for us will be staying consistent. We want to have five scorers all around 40. We also need to get good senior leadership.
“We have four kids — Wanish, Pace, Brown and Congdon — all about the same level going for the number one position, with Williamson, West, Yamamoto and Broyles in the mix for starting spots (top six). We want to win the division again, which will be a little more difficult this year, We also want to have six players qualify for sectionals.”
A team can qualify for sectionals in the spring by shooting either 215 or below over nine holes on a par-36 or 210 or below on a par-35 once during the season. Individuals can qualify by shooting 40 below once at home and once on the road, or twice on the road.
In assessing the league race, Hughes said that “East Syracuse-Minoa Blue is going to be very good, and Jamesville-DeWitt will be as well. You can’t count Syracuse CBA out either.” Fulton is the Purple Tigers’ other league opponent.