It would have been easy to overlook what was taking place with the boys golf team at Freehold Township this spring.
Every time the Patriots took to the course in a major event, it was CBA stealing the spotlight with performances that seemed to set new standards.
While CBA was winning the Monmouth County Tournament, the only title that eluded them a year earlier, it was Freehold Township who emerged as the best of the rest with a score of 326.
As CBA shattered every record with a 288 to win the Shore Conference Tournament, the Patriots posted a 318 to once again finish second.
And while CBA won the division crown, Freehold Township shared the top spot among the public schools with perennial powerhouse Howell.
“I think this is the first time in 19 years we’ve won or shared a division title,” said Freehold Township coach Gene Blanco.
“It’s been a long time. This is probably the best team I’ve had. To be able to compete with a team like Howell. They beat us on opening day and then we came back and beat them on their home course.”
Spearheading the Patriots’ resurgence was junior Jared Goldstein, who began the season by challenging for individual honors at Monmouth County and finished tied for third. He then backed it up by placing tied for fourth at the Shore Conference.
Jason Oesterle, the Patriots’ No. 2 man, was tied for 10th at the Shore Conference. Sophomore Dough Anderson and junior Harrison Dunayer were also important cogs in the lineup.
Blanco said Alex Kowalczyk, the team’s only senior, was a key ingredient in the team’s success.
“Alex had a great year,” said Blanco, who took over the program in 1998. “Not just as a player, but the way he led the team. The kids followed his lead and I think they respected him.
“He and Doug Anderson were very close for our third best average this season.”
With four starters returning next year, don’t be surprised if the Patriots are able to maintain their current stature among the Shore Conference elite.
“I’m just so proud of these kids. The season really exceeded my expectations,” Blanco said. “The players worked really hard and did a nice job all year.”