NEW RICHMOND – The Lions of the links at New Richmond High School prevailed as Southern Buckeye Conference-American Division champions in 2014, but have many low scores to replace.
Coach Steve Wolf’s crew finished 16-1, but are minus four all-league performers due to graduation. Chris Mazzaro was SBAAC-American Player of the Year and Kyle Heidlage, Bryce Kroeger and Daman Abner have also moved on.
Mazzaro was fourth in the city with a 37.28 average.
Returning starters for New Richmond are sophomore Lane Flamm and junior Laura Wilson, as golf in the SBAAC is a co-ed sport.
Ahead for the Lions is a home match with Western Brown on Aug. 18. The league tournament is set for Sept. 19 at Deer Track, hosted by Goshen.
The Amelia Barons finished second to New Richmond in the SBAAC-American Division and just ahead of Western Brown in 2014. All-league performers Trent Edwards and Sarah Hatcher have graduated, but first team selection Evan Daniel is back.
Daniel averaged 43.38 last season.
Batavia could be in for a rebuilding year this season but coach Randy Jones still expects his team to finish in the middle of the pack in the Southern Buckeye Conference American division.
The Bulldogs are made up of mostly juniors and seniors and will count on Brandon Frey, Cole Maxson, Adam Brown, Nick Gibbs and Hunter Watson.
Gibbs and Watson are seniors.
“Brandon is a solid golfer,” Jones said. “All our guys have experience and if they play well, they have a chance to reach the upper portion of the conference.”
Junior Catherine Halcomb golfs with the boys team as well.
“She has the chance to do well this season,” Jones said.
The Glen Este Trojans were 4-2 in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference last season for second-place and finished 10-2 overall. They finished third in the ECC tournament. Senior Thomas Zink was fourth in the league with a nine-hole average of 39.25 and made it to the district tournament.
Also back is Spencer Price, who averaged 44.5 last season along with Brad Smith and Elijah Leibert.
Mike Niehaus is the first-year coach at Glen Este. He will rely on Zink and Price to take over as leaders from recent grads Brandon Gillespie and Tyler Creel.
“I’m relying on the seniors to provide leadership and show the younger guys the ropes,” Niehaus said. “Thomas (Zink) made first-team ECC and Spencer (Price) has a great attitude combined with a great swing.”
Niehaus likes the promise of Smith and Leibert and was hoping to add a few players after tryouts.
“I’m not sure we can replicate Glen Este’s second-place finish in the ECC from last season, but I’m excited for the boys and for big things to come down the road,” he said.
After starting with the Anderson Invitational Aug. 6 at Legendary Run, the Trojans will host the Redskins on the same course Aug. 13.
McNicholas High School’s boys golf team enters the season with an embarrassment of riches, only losing Nick Niehaus from last year’s team that qualified for state.
Chris Dunne, the reigning GCL Coed player of the year, and fellow GCL Coed first teamers Ty DeBonis and Zane Brownrigg are back for more this season.
“It’s difficult to repeat as the conference player of the year,” said Justin Lenczicki, reigning GCL Coed coach of the year. “Chris is one player who continues to get better… he isn’t OK with reaching that plateau.
“When they get together, they are the biggest goofballs. But when they step onto the course and flip that switch, they are all business. This class of 2017 has been unbelievable.”
DeBonis made first-team all-state as well. He carded a 75 on the second day of the state tournament. He finished tied for fourth with a total score of 155.
Brownrigg, who wasn’t known for being a big hitter, has stepped up his game, according to Lenczicki. The coach said he is consistently carding scores in the 70s and is always looking to get better.
Cameron Massa, Chris Wells and Alex Burch round out the lineup.
An important date on the Rockets’ schedule is the King of the Hill match with neighborhood rivals Turpin and Anderson.
The Rockets have won two years in a row.
“Coach Price was giving me some lip about taking the title from us this year,” Lenczicki said with a laugh. “He said the Spartans were going to give us a run for our money.”
Williamsburg will be very young and inexperienced with five players, two of which have never played before. The lineup will feature freshmen and sophomores.
“We’ll call this a building year,” Wildcats coach Byron Jody said.
Players to watch
Evan Daniel, Amelia. First team SBAAC-American last season.
Thomas Zink, Glen Este. District tournament participant for the Trojans.