Undefeated Staples prepares for NC
The defending Division I champion Staples boys golf team has picked up where it left off last year. Staples opened the season at 3-0 and will play at defending Division II champion New Canaan at the Country Club of New Canaan on Tuesday.
"I expect my golfers to come back strong after the break," Wreckers Coach Tom Owen said, in reference to his charges being on spring break. Every one of his players worked rigorously on their game this week, some playing in out of state tournaments.
Staples opened the season with a 156-168 win at Stamford on April 7, a 159-177 victory at Wilton on April 8 and a 158-173 triumph at St. Joseph on April 13. Senior captain Dylan Murray, who competed in a tournament in Dallas this week, was the medalist against Stamford by shooting a 36.
"I've done well so far," Murray said. "I definitely have a lot of pressure on me and I'm able to take it, enjoy it and have fun with it."
Sophomore Austin Alianiello (37), junior captain Kirk Massie (41) and juniors Eric Gallanty (42) and Connor Mahoney (42) followed. Murray (35) was again the medalist against Wilton and was followed by Massie (40), Alianello (40), Gallanty (44) and Mahoney (45). Massie (36) was the medalist against St. Joseph and was followed by Alianello (40), Murray (41), junior Brian Wolgast (41) and sophomore Sam Shaffer (46) followed.
"I've been hitting the ball pretty well," Massie said. "When I miss it, I miss it in a good spot and it made it easy for me to rebound from it."
Overall, the Wreckers are pleased with this year. Murray, Massie and Alianello established themselves as the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 golfers respectively. Owen is trying different combinations at the other spots to see who will take the fourth and fifth positions.
"We're doing OK," Massie said. "It's early. We're not playing as well as we could but it's early. Hopefully, we'll remain on an upward patch so we can play in FCIACs and States."
Murray said, "We're still warming up, we haven't had our most difficult matches yet and we're getting ready for them."
Last year, Staples was 18-0 in the regular season and finished third at FCIACs, falling short of one-stroke of a playoff to New Canaan and eventual-champion Greenwich. Duplicating or bettering last year is a goal but a bit of a challenge.
"If we're as strong as last year, it will be a great accomplishment," Owen said. "Last year, we flew under the radar. Being the defending state champion, teams are out to beat you."
Massie said, "Everyone has to play well at the same time. All five guys have to play their best at FCIACs and States and when we do it, we have a good chance of winning."