By Jimmy Allinder
As if East Brunswick High School’s boy’s golf team wasn’t already stocked with enough talent to once again finish as a top Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) team, another fresh face has joined the Bears.
Eegan McDermott did not play as a freshman but debuted with a 37 in a five-stroke season-opening victory, 175-180, over South Brunswick High School April 5. Senior Jeremy Steenvorden’s 43 was the team’s next best score, followed by senior Chris Ng’s 46. Considering returning starters senior Jason Minikel and junior Brandon Wei did not play in the match, East Brunswick looks to be a serious contender to win the Red Division and conference tournament championships.
This is McDermott’s first year with the high school team, but he has posted excellent scores in multiple junior Professional Golf Association (PGA) tournaments. He joins a team that finished 13-2 overall, won the Red Division title and placed third in the GMC Tournament.
Head coach Bo Henning is confident about his lineup, but years of experience have taught him to take nothing for granted.
“Like our other returning letter winners, Eegan will be important to our success, whether it’s at an invitational, conference match or state tournament qualifier,” Henning said. “No one golfer can carry the load, but we expect Eegan will be a nice addition to the team.”
Henning also coached the East Brunswick’s boys’ basketball team for 25 seasons before stepping down after the 2012-13 team won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey, Group IV title.
“My experience is that when golfers make swing changes during the season, thousands of repetitions are required before they are comfortable,” he said. “That [process] can impact their scores, and I let them know that.
“I also tell my golfers to focus on their short game, develop a course strategy, manage each match and be responsible team members. I also encourage them to not think so much about what they do as individuals but how they can contribute to the team.”
The Monroe Township High School golf team opened the season by winning its first three matches including a 10-stroke victory, 165-175, over defending GMC Tournament champion South Brunswick April 3.
Head coach Dennis Kelliher will not predict if the Falcons improve their 16-4 overall record, 12-2 mark in the White Division and fourth-place finish in the conference tournament but points to the team’s experience as a plus.
“Every starter returns, and that’s a plus,” Kelliher said. “We’ve also fortunate to be located in a community where we have practiced and played at Forsgate [Country Club] and Clearbrook [Golf Course], which are excellent courses.”
Monroe has been led by Rob Cocorikis, brother of 2015 graduate Matt Cocorikis, who is currently a member of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania golf team. The senior averages +5.1* and is joined by juniors Waheed Zafar (+6.1) and Christian Guido (+7.9) and sophomores Adithya Palekar (+7.6) and Rishub Handa (+9.3).
*Stroke average for nine holes