Bucs figure to have company at the top
Cambridge-SD, Easton, Queen Anne’s has a shot to knock out the champions
Kent Island High’s golf squad, which won the Bayside Conference title and qualified for states as a team in 2015, sent five players to College Park last year, and returns much of that group, as well as young, new talent.
But there is talk of strong play throughout the North Bayside this year.
“I think Kent Island is going to be very good,” Queen Anne’s head coach Brad Niesz said. “I think that a lot of teams are going to have trouble with them. They have a lot of strong players on the roster . ... Easton should be pretty good, and Cambridge-(South Dorchester), I think Phil (Fenstermaker) knows how to coach them, and they’ve got kids who know the game.”
“I think we’ve got some talent,” said Kent Island’s Tony Lewis, who begins his second year in charge after one season as an assistant. “I think our top five golfers right now, averaged out, shoot about a 41. The three behind them shoot 44s, so we’ve got some kids that can play.”
But Lewis noted 2014 North champ, Easton, is out there as well.
“I think that, from what I understand, Easton’s going to be pretty good too, though,” Lewis said. “They got back a couple of good players, and they always seem to have some talent there.”
With freshman phenom Harrison Smith walking on and making the lineup as well, Lewis looks to start two seniors, a junior, a sophomore, and a 9th-grader this fall.
Kent Island now aims to repeat as champs, but will have to battle the Warriors for the top honor. Cambridge-SD, tabbed a dark-horse for the division crown, along with North Caroline and Queen Anne’s, have players capable of leading the pack in the weeks to come.
Queen Anne’s leads all contestants in turnout this year.
“We had 17 come out for golf this year,” said Niesz, the division’s most senior coach with 10 seasons under his belt. “We’re hoping to put together a jayvee team for the first time. We think we’ve got some kids who are younger, and who have potential, who, with coaching, can become really good.
“We just want to get them to the point where they want to play golf year-round,” Niesz said. “There are some players who do, and it shows.”
At the southern end of the division, Vikings second-year head coach Fenstermaker returns a lot of talent. But he still thinks the top teams from the last several years may lead the standings in the long run.
“I’d say at the top, fighting it out, will probably be Kent [Island] and Easton again,” Fenstermaker said. “They fought all last season, and won about half the matches . ... But that could change. It all comes down to how everybody performs.”
Fenstermaker put the Vikings in the top three, slugging it out with Queen Anne’s County, which has hovered near the top for a number of years. “We completed with them a lot, and with them graduating one of the top kids, and with us having some experience coming back... I’m projecting us maybe as one of the top three.”
“I think a lot of teams have at least 1-2 good players,” North Caroline heads coach Nash Ireland said. “Cambridge has a couple, Kent Island, Easton has some, we’ve got 1-2, Queen Anne’s will have 1-2. There are a lot of good golfers out there.”
While the number of players in the division as a whole has perhaps inched up a bit, one venue used during recent seasons is no more. Caroline Country Club, which hosted events for Colonel Richardson and North Caroline, closed recently.
As a result, Colonel’s home match will take place at River Marsh Golf Course, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge. North Caroline’s home match will be held at Queenstown Harbor Golf Course, the same venue which Queen Anne’s calls home.
Here’s how the North Bayside’s teams look with the first match scheduled for Sept. 1. Cambridge-SD Seven of Fenstermaker’s 11 players are seniors, including his top four, all of whom are returning starters from 2015. Jon Brohawn, Ian Powley, Jarrett Bromwell, and Mitchell McDonald are joined in the top five by classmate Austin Willey.
Tommy Crain, Matt King, Billy Hill, Eric Shorter, and newcomers Freddie Kirsch and Katie Roberts round out the roster. Easton Head coach Paul Gancasz’s squad returns junior Nick Covey, who averaged a 39.88 last season; he’s joined by senior captain Blake Saulsbury, who averaged a 46 last year. Sophomore Nick Shaw, who averaged 48 per-nine last season, returns as well.
Rounding out the roster are sophomore lefty Garret Campbell in the No. 4 position. Freshman William Denny and sophomore Brandon Latham, will battle for the fifth spot. Kent County The Trojans, who were represented by 2016 grad James Ciganek in the state meet — the North’s only individual male qualifier — are led for the fifth straight year by head coach Steve Oatley, who has just four players.
Junior Brian Blackburn is at No. 1 and joined by sophomore Brandon Arigio, and freshmen Mac Luhm and Jacob Kilby.
Kent County hosts the first match of the season, at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 at Chester River Yacht and Country Club in Chestertown. Kent Island Senior Cameron Javdan, lefthanded junior Taylor Judge, the North’s only female state qualifier in 2015, and senior Paul Janniche fill the top three spots in the lineup. Smith joins the team at No. 4, with sophomore Holly Haber, who burst onto the scene as a freshman, taking the five-spot.
Lucas Janniche, Jake Jonka, Preston Wilder, Noah Smith, and another freshman, Carter Maisel, are also on the roster. North Caroline Ireland is back for his second campaign as head coach of a sport he played at North Caroline.
The Bulldogs have just six players coming into 2016. Dakota Kellmeyer will play No. 1, with Ben Beavans, lefty Austin Haught, and Timothy Parks rounding out the top four. Contesting the fifth spot are junior Justin Gray and sophomore Will Smith. North Dorchester Dave Morrissette leads the Eagles for the second year, and like his county rival, returns four key players. Senior Jacob Bialk, junior Drew Walker, and sophomores Cole Morrissette and Lucas Thorpe round out the top four slots, all with a year under their belts.
Sophomore Dalton Adshead, along with freshmen Anna Tyler, Garrett Barnes, and Grant Walker (Drew’s younger brother) round out the roster. Queen Anne’s Senior Jason Deal locks down the top spot in the lineup. Though Ethan MacGregor looks to be the favorite for the two-slot, Eli Anders, Emmy Williams, Donnie Cox, and Kyle Simpson will vie for the 2-5 positions. St. Michaels Seniors Will Reick and Patrick Falter anchor the top of second-year head coach Jordan Miller’s lineup.
The 3-5 spots are yet to be determined, with junior Jack Stevens, sophomores Jack Vener, Benny Rieck (Will’s younger brother), and Matt Dunn, fighting for those positions, along with freshmen Sam Turner and Wilder Evans.
Editor’s Note: Information was not available from Colonel Richardson.