High school golf previews: Bow will have new look after winning D-II crown in inaugural season

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 08-22-2023 4:50 PM

The Bow High School golf team had as good an inaugural season in Division II as any squad could hope for. The Falcons swept the NHIAA D-II titles, winning the team championship, their ninth state crown in the last 11 years (the others were won in D-III), while then-junior Hunter Duncan won the D-II individual championship.

But Duncan now attends prep school and several other members of last year’s team have graduated, leaving only two players – senior Sean Guerrette and junior Owen Webber – who competed at last year’s state championship.

“We are a drastically different team than we were in years past,” said Bow head coach Matt Davis, who is entering his seventh year as the head of the program. “That being said, I was excited to see that our athletes came out ready to compete. We have a lot to work on, but these young men have put themselves in a good position by playing and readying themselves this spring and summer.

“You can tell that each player wants advice on how to get better, and I truly believe that we will be there at the end of the year with a good opportunity to win.”

Guerrette, the team captain, played in several junior events and worked in the golf industry over the summer. He and Webber are both in a consistent top four, according to Davis, but the Nos. 5-8 spots could see any one of the other 15 Falcon golfers on the roster from match to match.

Depth was especially important in helping Bow successfully make the jump up to D-II. In D-III and D-IV, only the top four scorers per team contribute to the total team score, as opposed to D-I and D-II, where the top five scores are counted. A deep roster helped the Falcons go 26-2 during the regular season and claim the top seed heading into the 2022 championship.

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“The really big thing for us is that we’ve always had a lot of depth,” Davis said. “Adding that one extra scorer is pretty significant. It means that we’re focusing more on making sure the athletes are thinking their way around the course, not just relying on their power and natural skill to get them by.”

Davis expects Windham, Winnacunnet, St. Thomas Aquinas, Oyster River, Portsmouth and Timberlane to be the toughest opposition for the Falcons.

Bow opens the season next Tuesday on its home course at Beaver Meadow against Alvirne, Kennett and Pembroke.

NHIAA competition opens on Wednesday with Concord, John Stark, Kearsarge and Concord Christian Academy are slated to play matches.

Previews of the other area programs are below:

CONCORD

Division: I.

Coach: Mark McDonough (seventh year).

Last year: 21-2, fourthth in D-I .

Returning players: Gavin Richardson, sr.; Carl Sirrianna, jr.; Alex Pelletier, sr.; Keller Ramshaw, jr.; Jordan Dustin, sr.; Brett McDonough, sr.; Griffin Norwalt, sr.; David Bourgeois, jr.; Jack Shoemaker, sr.

Top newcomers: Jaden Haas, fr.; Zachary Neilson, fr.

Outlook: The Tide only graduated one senior from last year’s team, while everyone else who competed at last year’s state championship is back, including Richardson (tied sixth in D-I), Sirrianna (13th) and Ramshaw (16th), who made the cut for the individual tournament championship.

“We expect another solid year. We have a lot of depth and tough competition among the team to make the top eight that play in the matches,” coach Mark McDonough said. “Interest in golf at CHS is at an all-time high, and we have several incoming freshman that look to make the squad and support the JV and varsity team.”

Teams to beat: Bedford, Exeter, Keene.

MERRIMACK VALLEY

Division: II.

Coach: Joe Dougherty (second year).

Last year: JV only.

Returning starters: Andrew Surprenant, sr.; Dalton Gordon, sr.; Matt Lauren, jr.; Trevor Cote, so.; Brady Smith, so.; Konnor Silveria, so.; Gavin Pesula, jr.; Tristan Pierce, so.

Top newcomers: Isaak Davis, jr.; Michael Kingsbury, jr.; Landon Simonds, so.; Carsyn Perkins, sr.

Outlook: MV is fielding a varsity team for the first time since 2016 and is seeking to win its first match at the varsity level since 2014. Despite being JV as a team, the Pride still sent its top two individual competitors to the state championship, with Surprenant finishing fourth in the division. He also competed at the NHGA Amateur Championship this summer and gives MV a solid 1-2 punch with Gordon.

“There is an exciting mix of returning players who contributed to the development of our program in 2022, along with some new faces,” Dougherty said. “This is an athletic young team with the potential to make noise in the division.”

PEMBROKE

Division: II.

Coach: Beth Hamilton (14th year).

Last year: 9-19, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Cam Plumb, sr.; Colby Pope, sr.; Alex Sexton, sr.; Owen Stewart, jr.

Top newcomers: Taylor Cotnoir, sr.; Alex Hanson, sr.

Outlook: The Spartans nearly doubled their win total from 2021 last fall and are looking to improve even more.

“We have some veterans returning this year,” Hamilton said. “With team consistency, (it) might add up to a few more wins for PA this year.”

Teams to beat: Oyster River, Timberlane, Windham.

BELMONT

Division: III.

Coach: John Mattes (first year).

Last year: No team since 2020.

Returning starters: Nick Pucci, sr.

Top newcomers: Max Ryder, fr.; Jordan DeFrancesco, fr.; Jasper Sottak, fr.

Outlook: The Raiders haven’t fielded a team since 2020 and have John Mattes replacing Kevin Charleston as coach after 17 years of leading the program. Pucci was on the team the last time Belmont had one, and Ryder, DeFrancesco and Sottak provide a strong core of new talent.

BISHOP BRADY

Division: III.

Coach: Jason Bird (second year).

Last year: 6-21, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Bronson Taylor, sr.; Alex Pelletier, so.; Giulia Conserva, so.

Top newcomers: Mady Savary, fr.; Cam Fortier, fr.; Cam O’Rourke, fr.

Outlook: After an off year with low numbers, the Giants have 19 golfers on the team this year and are looking to improve “with one of the best players in the state in Mady Savary,” according to Bird. Savary is one of 13 freshmen on the roster. Taylor, the lone senior in the bunch, will serve as captain.

“We’re looking forward to getting on the course with an energetic group,” Bird said. “We always have fun.”

Teams to beat: Derryfield.

COE-BROWN

Division: III.

Coach: Chris Mowers (sixth year).

Last year: 19-7, 5th in D-III.

Returning starters: Alex Myslinksy, jr.; Jack Smith, sr.

Outlook: The Bears have steadily improved over the last few years. They finished 15th in D-III in 2020, seventh in 2021 and cracked the top five last year, with Myslinksky and Smith finishing ninth and 11th, respectively, as individuals.

JOHN STARK

Division: III.

Coach: Denis Kolehmainen (third year).

Last year: 4-23, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Lucas Arlen, so.; Luke Boden, jr.; Lucas Gagnon, sr.; Ethan Guevin, sr.; Caleb Hauptman, sr.; Jackson Lochmandy, jr.; Donovan Moynihan, so.; Mason Paquette, jr.; Tobin Prieto, so.; Garrett Werner, so.

Top newcomers: Jacoby Baron, fr.; Daniel Brisson, fr.; Liam Carrol, fr.; Lucas Confer, fr.; Landon Duclos, fr.; Zack Fredette, fr.; Ben LaBrecque, so.; Logan Montgomery, sr.; Finn Osgood, fr.; Chase Philibotte, jr.; Miller Twombly, fr.; James Wilcoxen, so.; Rowan Young, fr.

Outlook: “We picked up some new talent this year, mostly coming from the incoming freshman class,” Kolehmainen said. “Largest team we’ve ever had, so there’s a lot of competition in our practices to make the matches. We should be more competitive this year but are still a ways behind the leaders of this division.”

Teams to beat: Souhegan, Derryfield, Lebanon.

KEARSARGE

Division: III.

Coach: Bubba Williams (seventh year).

Last year: 16-11, sixth in D-III.

Returning starters: Charlie Reeve, sr.; Owen Blood, jr.; Andrew Cushing, jr.; Ryan Donelan, jr.

Top newcomers: Alex Tockman, sr.; Eli Gray, sr.

Outlook: The Cougars only graduated one senior from last year’s team that qualified for the state tournament and are looking to finish in the top five.

Teams to beat: Derryfield, Souhegan, Coe-Brown, Pelham.

CONCORD CHRISTIAN

Division: IV.

Coach: Caleb Holmes (second year).

Last year: 11-14, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Troy Holmes, sr.; Connor Faherty, so.; Caleb Thompson, so.

Top newcomers: Tyler Reneau, so.

Outlook: After only finishing two places out of qualifying for the state tournament in their inaugural season as a program, the Kingsmen are looking to improve in 2023.

“We have a young team with a couple of promising players,” coach Holmes said. “I hope that we can get it together enough to make the playoffs, but I am optimistic about the future.”

Teams to beat: Mascenic, Woodsville.

HILLSBORO-DEERING

Division: IV.

Coach: Brian McGinn (10th year).

Last year: 8-19, did not make tournament.

Returning starters: Gavin Coombs, sr.; Gavin Ford, so.; Lenny Seymour, so.

Outlook: “We’re hoping for a stronger season than last year,” McGinn said. “We will be building on the progress we made last year with four returning players. We have added two new players who I hope can add some points in each of our matches. Everyone will be playing in every match, so there are a lot of chances for improvement.”

Teams to beat: Woodsville, Mascenic.

HOPKINTON

Division: IV.

Coach: Dave Chase (8th year).

Last year: 29-1, third in D-IV.

Returning starters: Zach Hopper, sr.; Adam Richter, sr.; Bronson Ammann, jr.; Tate Doolan, jr.

Top newcomers: Jackson Kovar, sr.; Travis Loranger, so.

Outlook: The Hawks return four of their six golfers from last year’s team that topped the D-IV standings in the regular season and earned the tournament’s top seed.

“Zach Hopper and Bronson Ammann are Nos. 1 and 1A as far as being the team’s top golfers,” said Chase. “Doolan and Richter both are stronger and have been hitting the ball longer, and we are excited to get Jackson Kovar back after a year away. Consistency will be the key for the team and if we can continue to improve on the green we should be able to compete again this year.”

Teams to beat: Mascenic, Conant, Woodsville, Gilford, Campbell.

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