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Golf preview

Madonna seeks return trip to Class A West Virginia state championship

August 27, 2012
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor ( , The Herald-Star

The Weirton Madonna golf team has one West Virginia Class A state championship and two runner-ups to its name the past three years and is looking for another trip to the final two rounds of golf.

"Our early season accomplishment of beating defending state champion Charleston Catholic has given us high hopes for another postseason run," said head coach T.J. Branczio. "Our goals are simple, win our fourth-straight OVAC championship and go to states for the fourth year in a row."

The Blue Dons are led by junior returning lettermen Michael Rogers, Alex Colantonio and Sam Licata and sophomore Nick Mazur.

The roster does not have a senior on it.

Madonna has eight other juniors in Thomas Gianni, Ryan Watts, Alan Alimario, Cole Roberts, Ali Welch, Brandon Bartley, Dustin Parr and Andrew Higgins; five other sophomores in Matthew Lyons, Anthony Basil, Domenic Silvestri, Jake Travaglino and Alexis Taylor; and six freshmen in Nicholas Higgins, Lorenzo Basil, Joseph Arnold, Travis Baker, Ricky Daddario and Connor Bartley.

Catholic Central

The Crusaders have had early success and look to carry that through the OVAC tournament and sectional and district tournaments.

Central is led by returning juniors Mike Manfresca and Jason Bensur and freshman Austin Meronoff. Manfresca and Bensure are two-year lettermen.

Also seeing varsity time will be sophmore Nick Ivkovich and junior Josh Merriman.

"We have a great mix of golfers, including freshman Matt Fischer and Brandon Svec, juniors Christian Reed and Patrick Spiess, sophmore Jack Reed and senoir Colton Mannarino," said head coach Rocky Augustine. "I am very excited about our team, we have been playing well."

The Crusaders just finished eighth in the 18-team Cardinal Mooney Invitational, and Meronoff took third.

"We have some big challenges in the coming weeks," said the coach, "and I'm sure our kids will be up for these matches. Our goals have not changed. Winning the OVAC, and a top 10 finish at the fall classic, and to advance through sectionals and districts.

"Our kids have worked very hard over the summer and will continue to work through the season. I see no reason to believe that these goals can't be achieved."


The Bruins have five seniors leading the way, including three-year lettermen Austin Schambach and Cody Dodd. Coach Run Ujcich also has two-year lettermen Brice Hickey and Eric Kenny, along with Matt Beaman, and juniors Trey Gilham and Noah Teaff and sophomore Logan Lojszczyk, who lettered as a freshman.

"We are looking forward to the rest of season," said Ujcich. "We have our work cut out for us, but the team has been working really hard to improve and get better each day. We are a senior-dominated team this year and we will be looking to our seniors to lead the way as we move through our season.

"We have been playing really well so far, but we need to make some strides to improve as we get closer to the regional tournament."

Harrison Central

The Huskies are looking to build on the success they had last season when they finished third in the Buckeye 8 and sixth in the OVAC, all of which were improvements from the 2010 campaign.

The Huskies will be led by senior veteran Drew Horn, who is seeking his fourth varsity letter. He shot a career- best 76 to qualify for the district tournament.

Outside of Horn and fellow senior James Thompson, the Huskies will be young.

"We didn't lose any seniors from last year's team, but with the exit of numerous upperclassmen to other endeavors, the lineup will be very young," said Harrison Central head coach Todd Dunlap.

Sophomore Austin Kowalski is the only other letterman back in the fold.

The balance of the roster includes senior Cassie Bellerive, James Beckett, Matt Hawthorne, Kyle Keimayer, Bryce Walrath, Jarett Edwards, Evan Ossman, Ian Saho, Ralph Gillig and George Case.


Coach Tom Bocek has seniors Adam Ryan and Kaylea Bell; juniors Ben Boyd, Dylan Jones and Jimmy Marsh; sophomore Preston Collins; and freshman Mason Allese.

"We are a young team experience- wise," said Bocek. "Adam, Ben, Jimmy, and Preston are starting their second year of varsity golf while Kaylea, Dylan and Mason are playing their first year at the varsity level.

"Our goals are pretty simple for this season - continue to improve with each match we play, be competitive each and every time we compete, finish with a winning regular-season record, and finish as close to the top as we can in each tournament. These are seven great kids who spend lots of time working on their games.

"It is my pleasure to work with and be associated with them and I am extremely confident that we will continue to get better as the season progresses."

Oak Glen

New coach Jerry Everly welcomed seniors Taylor Kincaid and Matt McLaughlin, juniors Jacob Stipec and Matt Stipec, sophomore Haley Spurlock and freshman Mike Watkins.

"Taylor Kincaid and Matt McLaughlin are holding down the one and two spots on the team," said Everly. "Both are playing well in the early part of the season. Haley Spurlock and Jacob Stipec are showing great improvement over last season. Matt Stipec and Mike Watkins are in their first season of golf and working on their game every day."

Indian Creek

Seventeen players competed for six varsity spots for the Redskins and coach Ray Case.

"The remaining 11 will play junior varsity to gain experience looking forward to next season," said Case. "The depth of the team increases the competition for the varsity spots and has helped lower the scores needed to earn a position."

Case has senior Ian MacIntosh, juniors Adam Freshwater and Trevor Hennis, sophomores Justin Dailey and Cole Yeater and freshman Aaron Foldi.

"Adam Freshwater, Trevor Hennis, and Justin Dailey return from last year's team," said Case. "Ian MacIntosh, Cole Yeater and Aaron Foldi are on the team for the first time. The team split their first two matches before encountering problems with the weather that prevented completion of recent matches."

Big Red

Coach Joe Biasi has four players - seniors Jacob McKitrick, Mason Heatherington, and Andrew O'Dell and sophomore Kasey Peterson.

"We are in a position this year that we have little margin for error when you only have four scores going into a match," said Biasi. "We are staying positive about that and I think the kids realize that they have to be on their game every match. It has forced them to concentrate a little harder and hopefully we will be better for it.

"Jacob is a three-year letter winner and is coming off a solid junior year. Mason is going to have to step up his game for us this year and I think he will. Andrew hasn't played for two seasons but looks good early. Kasey keeps improving every day and will be a solid golfer before it is all said and done. We will be competitive and positive."


Red Riders new coach Joe Smarrella has two seniors in Zach Midcap and Alex Creel. Weir High has one junior in Tyler Warrick and three sophomores in Vince Gaudio, Austin Paul-Orecchio and Chris Presutti.


Coach Mark Ferrell has seniors John-Mike Romey and Brad Melville, sophomore Ben Hlivko, along with Nick Ighnat and Grant Scott.

"They are a great group of kids who work hard," said Ferrell. "We just hope to keep improving each day and be playing our best golf at tournament time."

Buckeye Local

Head coach Dave Cybulski's roster is led by seniors Clint Henry, Ricky Sempkowski, Bo Walker, Kyle Putphin and Haleigh Poch, along with Matt Miller.

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