It’s the exact way last season started, with early-season losses to perennial powerhouse Caesar Rodney and Henlopen South rival Delmar.
Also last season, however, the Indian River High School golf team bounced back by winning five out of their next six matchups, which is exactly what they aim to do now after falling to the Riders on Thursday, March 23, and the Wildcats on Tuesday, March 28.
“The kids know what they have to do to improve, and they will,” said head coach Billy Wingate. “It’s early. We have a good team this season. We just have to get the scores down and get off of the 200 mark, down to the 190s.”
In the opener against Caesar Rodney at Cripple Creek last Thursday, the Indians finished shooting a 204 on the day, with senior Gavin Gates earning the low score on the day, with a 48.
Junior Mikaela Brosnahan was not far off, posting a 49. Junior Joe D’Orazio capped the day with a 52, followed by sophomore Ryan Stone’s 56, senior John Evans taking a 55 and senior Freddie West rounding out the lineup with a 59.
Taking over the team’s No.1 spot this season for All-Conference selection Joey Cooper, who the team graduated last spring, Evans led the Indians with a 45 against Delmar on Tuesday, just one stroke off from Delmar medalist Jacob Lemon.
“John’s playing great,” said Wingate. “We’re keeping John and Joe together because they play well together. I expect Joe to get down in the 40s and stay there.”
D’Orazio shot a 52 against the Wildcats, with junior Isabel Wolfenburger finishing second for the Indians, with a 51.
Freshman Patrick Gogarty worked his way into the lineup in that matchup as well, finishing with a 58 in his debut for the team.
After seeing 17 golfers come out for the squad this season, Wingate said that, as always, the lineup will be subject to change, depending on who’s got the hot hand.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent,” said Wingate, noting sophomore Michael Barnes as another player who could make an impact this season. “We have some really good talent coming up for the next couple years, so we’re going to try and get them all in as much as we can.”
Also joining the team this year is assistant coach Matt Schifano.
“He’s a big help to us,” said Wingate. “He’s a good golfer and knows the game very well.”
The Indians were set to take on Sussex Academy and Sussex Central in a tri-match at Baywood Greens in Georgetown on Thursday, March 30, (after Coastal Point press time). They’ll return to their home course at Cripple Creek for a match against Sussex Tech on Tuesday, April 4, at 3:30 p.m.