Freehold High School’s golf team provided the feel-good story of the season.
A program in need of a signature win got just that when the Colonials captured the Freehold Regional High School District championship at Gamblers Ridge Golf Course in Upper Freehold Township.
The win sent seniors Lewis Wright, Russell Herbert and Chris LaBarbara, who had been part of the program for four years, out as winners. They had raised the bar for Colonials golf during their tenure, and the championship was a fitting conclusion to their careers.
The Colonials shot a school-record 312 as a team to win the tournament by 13 strokes.
One thing remained the same this spring, and that was the Howell High School team. Despite graduating the winningest golfer in district history, Dawson Jones, Howell went 16-2 in dual meets and retained the public school Shore Conference A North Division championship. The Rebels were the district’s top team at the county (fifth), Shore Conference (sixth) and NJSIAA Central/South Jersey, Group IV (14th) tournaments.
Marlboro High School’s girls dominated the district tournament.
Freehold Township High School’s Bobby Weise and Howell’s Rebecca Hamilton successfully defended their district championships and were clearly the area’s best. Both golfers have something in common: they are multi-sport athletes who excelled at golf despite not being full-time players.
Hamilton is headed to Penn State University on an athletic scholarship to play soccer. Along with her great play on the soccer pitch, Hamilton played basketball in the winter and then took the clubs out of storage for the spring.
Weise is one of the top long-range shooters in basketball and was part of the Patriots’ basketball team that won the A North title and played for the Central Jersey, Group IV championship, losing to Colts Neck High School.
Weise is joined on the News Transcript’s All-Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) Boys Golf Team by Howell’s Noah Sloane and Mike Stefanelli, Freehold’s Lewis Wright and Manalapan High School’s Dan Natoli.
Hamilton heads up the All-FRHSD Girls Team with Marlboro’s Alisha Patel and Victoria Parsons and Colts Neck’s Alissa Tsai and Sarah Geissler.
Weise, a junior, took the torch from Jones this spring and was the area’s best throughout the season. He began the campaign in ninth place at the Wall Invitational. He tied for second at the Monmouth County Tournament, carding a 73 on the Howell Park Golf Course. He took fifth in the Shore Conference Tournament and sixth in the sectional. He shot a 1-under-par 71 to win his second straight district tournament.
Weise, Stefanelli and Wright were all named to the Shore Conference Challenge Cup team.
Sloane and Stefanelli were a very effective one-two punch that kept Howell among the conference’s best teams. The team only lost to non-public Christian Brothers Academy in dual meets.
Sloane, a junior, was sixth in the county and fell just one shot short of forcing a playoff at the district tournament. Instead, he had to settle for second place behind Weise with an even-par round of 72.
Stefanelli, a senior, took 11th in the county, sixth in the conference and tied for third in the district.
Natoli, a senior, has been a mainstay with the Braves for four years and during that time was always one of the district’s best. He put together another solid season. He matched Weise for the best finish at the Wall Invitational, tying for 11th. He had top-30 finishes at both the county and conference tournaments. He concluded his season tying for third place at the district championship.
Wright’s best tournament was in the Shore Conference, where his 75 at his home course of Charleston Springs in Millstone tied him with Weise for fifth place. He was 24th in the county and tied with Natoli and Stefanelli for third at the district tournament.
Student-athletes who have earned All-FRHSD honorable mention recognition for the boys for their performances during the 2016 season are Russell Herbert and Chris LaBarbara of Freehold, Dan Gaul of Manalapan and Rohan Parikh of Marlboro.
Hamilton only played in three tournaments, but she made them count. She was 10th in the county, 12th in the conference and repeated as district champion, carding a 91. The Rebels’ standout said she wanted to make the final high school competition of her career memorable, and she did by going out as the district champion again.
Patel was runner-up to Hamilton by just three strokes. Parsons was third in the district, followed by Tsai and Geissler.