The majority of the starters for Caesar Rodney’s and Sussex Tech’s golf teams were lined up as contenders for the Henlopen Conference title on Thursday, May 22, but Indian River planned to give them a run for their money, with an impressive roster of juniors, one senior and one freshman.
First-year head coach Paris Mitchell was pleased with the way his Indians attacked the links this year, displaying themselves as adequate competition in this past week’s conference championship.
Junior Connor Vanderhook led the team on the season with an average score of 45.60 on a nine-hole round, placing him 28th in the conference of more than 80 entrants. Senior Paul Silveria and freshman Matthew Tribbett followed behind, averaging 48.07 and 48.08, respectively, this year. Three juniors rounded out River’s lineup — Will Mulliken (49.53), Robert Melson (46.80) and Tom Brady (50.58).
The players were grouped into foursomes throughout the conference, based on their averages.
“It’s looking pretty good to me,” said Mitchell. “I think Rob Melson can do pretty good in the group that he was placed in. Connor’s looking good, too. We’ve got three that will probably do fairly well in their groups — those two and Matt Tribbett. There’s tough competition with the other three, but as long as they practice how they have been all year, they ought to be alright.”
Competition is dispersed across the board, with athletes from Smyrna, Cape Henlopen, and Milford stealing a few spots above River.
“I don’t see too many people shaking up the guys at the top of the list too much. They’re pretty impressive players. Dover and Polytech had some good guys that are up there. They’ll have bull’s eyes on their backs, though. People are going to be out to get them in the conference match.”
It’s hard to say, but depending on the Indians’ finish in the conference, their shot as a team in the state match isn’t completely out of the question.
Next year’s team could very easily turn out to be a successful one, as four freshmen have already locked up matches on the varsity level.
The conference match was set to start early Thursday morning (after Coastal Point press time) at Mapledale in Dover, a course where the Indians gave up a match earlier this season.
“It’s a wide course,” said Mitchell. “I’ll be there to keep the guys moving, but they know what they’ve got to do.”
The state tournament will follow next week. Details are, as yet, unknown.