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Concord, Bow, Hopkinton among six area teams playing for high school golf titles this week

  • Hopkinton golf team pictured after its final match of the season at Nippo Lake Golf Club in Barrington on Sept. 30. The Hawks finished with a 16-2 record and will compete in the D-III championship Tuesday. Courtesy of Dave Chase

  • Bow junior Ali Sargent winds up to take a swing during the girls’ individual state championship Oct. 2 at Campbell’s Scottish Highlands. Sargent will compete in the D-III team championship at Laconia Country Club on Tuesday. Courtesy of Matt Davis

  • Bow junior Cam Evans tees off during a match this past season. Evans will compete for the Falcons at the Division III championship at Laconia Country Club on Tuesday. Courtesy of Matt Davis

Monitor staff
Published: 10/11/2021 7:49:36 PM

Six area high school golf teams qualified for this week’s NHIAA team championships, and, with two local teams going in as the top seeds, there’s a good chance at least one of them is coming home with some hardware.

Concord (25-1) finished on top of the Division I standings and appear to be in good form for Thursday’s D-I championship at The Overlook Golf Club in Hollis, while Bow (20-1) finished tops in D-III and will compete at Laconia Country Club on Tuesday.

Half of the 10 teams that made the cut for the D-III team championship are local, with Hopkinton (16-2), Coe-Brown (15-4), Kearsarge (13-8) and John Stark (10-10) also vying for the crown.

As winners of seven of the last nine D-III team titles and the defending champions, it isn’t a surprise that the Falcons –  led by sophomore Hunter Duncan (third in D-III in 2020), juniors Cam Evans (10th in D-III in 2020) and Ali Sargent (ninth in girls’ state championship), seniors Amelia Soucy (tied 12th in girls’ state championship) and Andrew Conley, freshman Owen Webber, and sophomore Eli Wilkening –  are back in the mix for another title, but all of the other area D-III teams outdid themselves to get here.

Hopkinton is only competing in D-III for the second year after a strong run in D-IV (runner-up in 2019). The Hawks finished seventh in their inaugural D-III season, but with only one senior on the roster – Kody Dexter (ninth in D-III last year) – their outlook for this season was unclear.

“The Hawks are excited for the tournament and to see how they stack up against both Bow and Pelham (19-2), who they did not play during the regular season,” Hopkinton coach Dave Chase said. “Tuesday’s state tournament also is an opportunity for the young guys to gain valuable experience.”

Each team that qualified in D-III and D-IV gets to pick seven golfers to compete, with the top four scores contributing to the team score. Juniors Hal Stokes and Andrew Fairneny, sophomores Zach Hooper and Adam Richter, and freshman Bronson Ammann and Cody Charron fill out Hopkinton’s championship lineup.

The other area teams showed great improvement since last year with all Coe-Brown (15th in 2020), Kearsarge (ninth) and John Stark (19th) finishing near the middle or bottom of the heap last year and failing to make the cut in 2019.

Coe-Brown has made especially huge gains in the last two years since finishing with a 3-22 record in 2019 and will be represented by Alexander Myslinksy, Connor Strum, Dante Ceppetelli, Hunter Demas, Jack Smith, Jacob Pelletier and Tommy Flanagan.

Kearsarge senior Jake LaBelle just missed the cut for the second round of the individual championship by one stroke last year and leads a squad that includes senior Alex Chapman, sophomore Charlie Reeve, junior Connor Heath, junior Meghan Blood (10th in girls’ state championship), and freshmen Owen Blood and Ryan Donelan.

John Stark (10-10) was the last team to qualify, just edging out Stevens (10-11) for the final spot. The Generals showed much improvement after finishing in last place in the division last year and going 5-23 in 2019 and 4-17 in 2018. Anthony DeTone, Cody Ugarte, Ethan Guevin, George Reph, Jayden Lamothe, Kyle Provencher and Seth Boden will compete for Stark.

Bow coach Matt Davis acknowledged in the preseason that, “There is a lot of talent throughout the division,” and there are other teams not in the Capital Area that are contenders.

Derryfield (17-2) is the 2019 champion and finished third last year, while Pelham (19-2) is the only blemish on the Falcons’ otherwise perfect record and Lebanon (19-1) finished second in the regular season.

In D-I, the Crimson Tide finished runner-up to Exeter by seven strokes last year, but Concord avenged that loss – twice – in the regular season and piled up victories over strong competition. Exeter (22-3), golf powerhouse Bedford (18-3) and Pinkerton (21-6) and Keene (20-8) rounded out the top five in the regular season and should be the Tide’s stiffest challenges on Thursday.

“There are several strong teams in our division certainly capable of winning this championship,” Concord coach Mark McDonough said. “The one day, 18-hole event is a format where anything can happen.”

Senior Cam Brown and sophomore Gavin Richardson tied for 11th in D-I last year and will compete for Concord again this year, with a veteran-laden and fluid lineup of seniors Cam McGonigle, Parker Savoy, Dylan Miles and Tyler Coskren, junior Read Merrill and sophomore Jack Shoemaker competing alongside them.

“We have the benefit of sending a great group of athletes with a lot of depth in talent,” McDonough said. “They’re all capable of contributing to the team score.”

The team championships this week also serve as the first round of the individual championships. The top 20 golfers in D-I and D-III through 18 holes in the team championship make the cut for another 18 holes on Saturday at Beaver Meadow to decide the individual title.

Pembroke (5-21) missed the cut in D-II, but senior Matt Wagner and junior Andrew Chiavaras will still compete for the Spartans on Thursday at Rochester Country Club with a shot at qualifying for Saturday’s individual championship.

Hillsboro-Deering (4-14) struggled with low roster numbers this season, but still fell just one spot shy of qualifying for the D-IV championship, narrowly losing that spot to Moultonborough (5-13).

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