Tom Owen expects the top tier of FCIAC boys golf to again be crowded with perennial powers like Greenwich and New Canaan leading the way.

He's hopeful, of course, that Staples will also be among the conference's best.

"I'm sure we'll have a winning season," said Owen, the Wreckers' coach. "We have to try to beat the usual suspects like Greenwich, New Canaan."

The Wreckers finished second in the conference last year -- 21 strokes behind the Cardinals at Fairchild Wheeler in Fairfield -- and return three of their top scorers.

Captaining the team will be seniors Stephen Colodny and Ross Whelan. Owen expects both to make an impact on the scorecard and in terms of leadership.

"They're both really, really good sticks. They can play. But the other intangible they have is they show great leadership," Owen said. "Their poise and the respect they get from other kids in the league, and other coaches, is really important to me."

Colodny carded a 78 at FCIACs and an 84 at the Division I state tournament at Tall Wood Country Club in Hebron in 2012. Whelan shot an 82 and 83, respectively.

"They were solid contributors last year," Owen said.

Sophomore Peter Richards -- the Wreckers' second-leading scorer at both postseason tournaments -- is a lock to hold one of the team's top three spots this year, Owen said.

Seniors Devin Lowman, Jacob Meisel and Liam O'Leary, along with junior Andrew Felman, will compete for the last two varsity spots.

"We've just got to go out there and play consistently," Owen said, "and get four out of five to score well."

Staples opens its season April 8 against Fairfield Ludlowe at Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield.

With Staples' home course -- Longshore -- not scheduled to open until next week with temporary greens, the team has been practicing at Birchwood Country Club, Owen said. He expects a strong performance when his team returns to its familiar surroundings.

"At Longshore, our home course, we should always be shooting below 160. ... That's our home course, it's a great advantage to play there," Owen said.

The Wreckers placed seventh in Division I last year with a score of 318.; 203-255-4561 ext. 114;