While James Nicholas was busy winning Section 1’s first individual state championship in 11 years with his usual flair, his play was somewhat obscured the team’s play as a whole last year. The section finished in second, just six shots shy of Section 3.
Nicholas’ play certainly helped in that effort, but Section 1 also had quality throughout its lineup. In fact, Ardsley’s Brent Ito and Somers’ Christian Cavaliere shared the first-round lead and Nicholas, Cavaliere and Rye’s James McHugh all finished in the top 14.
In all, Section 1’s six-best finishers after Nicholas all return for this year’s state tournament, which will be held Sunday and Monday at Cornell’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Ithaca. McHugh, the two-time Section 1 champ, and four-year qualifiers Ito and Cavaliere lead a group that should contend for the team title.
Bronxville’s Connor Daly will make his third appearance in the state tournament while Scarsdale’s Sol Thompson and Chris Gay qualified for the second straight year.
The only newcomers in the field for Section 1 are Fox Lane’s Jay Milch, a junior, and Croton-Harmon’s Matt Ferrari and Somers’ Nathan Han, who are both freshmen.
Ferrari and Han each needed extra holes — and one of them good fortune — to earn their trip to Ithaca. Ferrari outdueled Han in a three-hole playoff to grab the ninth and final qualifying spot at the Section 1 tournament. That same playoff started with three players, but Han outlasted Tappan Zee’s Tim Burke to become the first alternate. He was granted a surprise trip to states when Byram Hills’ Jackson Harrower withdrew.
Here’s the complete team of players from Section 1 competing at the NYSPHSAA boys state golf championships at Cornell’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Course:
Christian Cavaliere, Sr., Somers
Connor Daly, Sr., Bronxville
Matt Ferrari, Fr., Croton-Harmon
Chris Gay, Sr., Bronxville
Nathan Han, Fr., Somers
Brent Ito, Sr., Ardsley
James McHugh, Jr., Rye
Jay Milch, Jr., Fox Lane
Sol Thompson, Jr., Scarsdale