By Warren Rappleyea
With a contingent of veterans back and an influx of talented newcomers on hand, Sayreville War Memorial High School’s boys golf team looks to pick up where it left off last spring, when the Bombers went 14-4.
Coach Tom McCloskey’s charges also made it to the finals of the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament, as well as to the second round of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section II, Group IV tournament. The Blue and Gray finished behind Monroe Township High School in the GMC White Division.
“It’s been a pretty mild spring; I can’t remember being able to get out and practice as much as we have this year,” the coach said. “The guys are all looking pretty good. We recently shot 180 as a team against Edison — that’s something we strove to do last season.”
The Bombers are led by co-captains James Pasko and Nick Behr. Pasko was an all-White Division pick a year ago, when he averaged 44 strokes. The senior reads greens well and is becoming more consistent with his long game. Behr ended last season with a 46-stroke average thanks to his strong work with the irons.
Another senior, Andrew Surgent, has been on his mark early. Another all-division pick, Surgent has “been just bombing the ball,” according to McCloskey. An improved short game should help the senior improve on the 46-stroke average he posted last spring.
Lefty Tyler Jones is the fourth starter back for the Bombers. Jones’ aggressive style keeps him on pace for low rounds. After spending time during the offseason in the weight room, the senior has been hitting longer off the tee this spring.
“We’re going to need our top guys to keep playing well because we want to catch Monroe in the White Division this season,” McCloskey said. “They have high expectations of themselves and they know what we expect. They really began to show what they’re capable of last year, and they’re confident in their ability.”
John Perini averaged 46 strokes, and the coach is expecting more from the junior this time around. Perini’s relaxed approach enables him to shrug off the occasional poor shot and keep his focus on the next one.
Also back are lefty-swinging senior Jimmy Langan and junior R.J. Fiola, both of whom averaged about 53 strokes. The much-improved Langan’s technical proficiency keeps him on the fairways, and he has already shot a 45 in a scrimmage. Fiola has also worked to get stronger, and it has added distance to his play.
Juniors Zach Corby and Andrew Kenny have joined the golf team after playing baseball for the past two years, and McCloskey likes what he’s seen from both players. Sophomore Shane O’Neill has impressed with his ability to drive the ball.
The future looks bright for the program as well with six freshmen making this year’s squad. Amir Amari, Tom Evans, Nick Lugos, Scott Misch, Joe Phillips and Danny Yu have all shown they belong on the course and will help Sayreville for years to come.
Sayreville is set to open the season April 1 against Perth Amboy High School. The Bombers’ annual Tee-off Classic, which will include 16 teams, is scheduled for April 12 at the Metuchen Country Club.