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North Suncoast boys and girls golf preview

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Tue. August 23, 2011 | Matt Baker | Email

North Suncoast boys and girls golf preview

If the top of this North Suncoast golf preview looks familiar, it should. The area’s top two players — Springstead’s Megan Berube and Fivay’s Austin Padova — are back for more after being named golfers of the year last season. Expect Mitchell’s boys and girls  to be strong — again — and there should be plenty of new names and teams to watch this fall.

Five boys to watch
Austin Padova, Sr., Fivay:
The reigning North Suncoast Player of the Year tied for 15th in last year’s Class A state tournament. Padova was one of the area’s top players in the regular season, with a 35.8 nine-hole stroke average, and breezed to a district title with a six-stroke victory.

Logan Horrigan, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls’ No. 2 golfer last season will step into the top spot. He was an all-Sunshine Athletic Conference pick last year and shot 76 at the district tournament to help Wiregrass Ranch win its first championship.

Anthony Fiocca, Sr., Springstead: The Eagles are always strong and will look to their only senior to continue that tradition. Fiocca, the team’s top player and captain, finished sixth at the county tournament last fall.

Dylan Strout, Jr., Mitchell: Strout was an all-SAC selection during his first two seasons. He’ll try to make it three in a row this year while emerging as one of the county’s top players.

Jacob Arnett, Fr., Nature Coast: Coach Tom Brown said Arnett’s good short game and excellent vision could make him Nature Coast’s top player in his first year of high school.

Boys teams to watch
Bishop McLaughlin:
Led by seniors Scott Hiteman and Scott Donovan, the veteran-heavy Hurricanes will try to qualify for a third consecutive trip to regionals.

Springstead: Fiocca will try to lead the Eagles to their fourth Hernando County title in a row and a fourth trip to regionals in the past five seasons. Keep an eye on junior Ryan Nicoll, who finished second at the county tournament last year.

Mitchell: With eight players back from last year’s 11-1 squad, the Mustangs should be strong again. Four-year starter Dominick Dithmer, junior James Pittman and newcomer Loren Chateau should be key players.

Wesley Chapel: The Wildcats placed an area-best 15th at state and earned their first region title last season. How will they do this year without stars Jacob Fleck and Brandon Mumaw?

Land O’Lakes: The Gators gave Mitchell its only regular-season loss last year, but Land O’Lakes loses five seniors. Juniors Ricky Valdez and Jeremy Williams, and freshman Jordan Dollbaum will be among the team’s top players.

Key matches
Aug. 30: Mitchell at Wesley Chapel
Sept. 8: Fivay, Mitchell, Ridgewood at Links of Hudson
Sept. 19: Outback Invitational at East Lake Woodlands
Sept. 27: Wiregrass Ranch at Wesley Chapel
Oct. 10: Sunshine Athletic Conference tournament at Plantation Palms
Oct. 13: Hernando County tournament at the Heather
Oct. 17-18: District tournaments
Oct. 24-25: Region tournament
Nov. 1-2: State tournament

Girls to watch
Megan Berube, Jr., Springstead:
Berube was the area’s top player as a sophomore after finishing 14th at state and tying for second at regionals. She also won her second Hernando County title in two seasons and will be favored to make it three in a row this year.

Kae Elliott, Jr., Nature Coast: Elliott shot a team-best 94 at the A-8 district tournament to help the Sharks finish third last season. She and Autumn McCullough will lead Nature Coast again.

Rebecca Van Etten, Sr., Mitchell: She led a strong Mustangs team last season, shooting 73 at districts to finish second and win her first SAC title. How will she top that as a senior?

Tiffany Bahr, Sr., Zephyrhills: The four-year player was a third-team all-conference player last year and has the talent to become one of the area’s most consistent players during her senior year.

Spencer Valdespino, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin: Valdespino was the first girls golfer in program history to advance to districts and regionals in 2009, tying for 10th. She qualified for regionals last year, too, and could have a big senior season.

Girls teams to watch
Mitchell:
The Mustangs breezed to their 10th consecutive SAC title and finished fifth at regionals behind Van Etten, Emma Fivecoat, Nina Argento and Ashley Richardson. Mitchell has the talent to dominate again this year but must do so under new coach Thomas Stratman.

Pasco: Kellianne May, Mary Kassabaum and Co. led the Pirates to a fourth-place finish at regionals last year. What can Pasco accomplish in 2011?

Wesley Chapel: The bad news: Savanna Bischof is the team’s only senior. The good news: The Wildcats will have five new players to field their first full squad since 2007.

Zephyrhills: Bahr is the team’s top player, barely edging out sophomore Sydney Owens, who’s also a top tennis talent. Junior Karisten Deem’s power will also help out the Bulldogs.

River Ridge: The Royal Knights finished third at last year’s SAC Tournament but lose four of their top players. Junior Jessica Petrashek will try to lead the rebuilding effort.

Key matches
Sept. 1: Mitchell at Pasco
Sept. 13: Hernando, Weeki Wachee, Springstead at Brooksville GCC
Sept. 22: Mitchell at River Ridge
Oct. 10: Sunshine Athletic Conference tournament at Heritage Springs
Oct. 13: Hernando County tournament at the Heather
Oct. 17-18: District tournaments
Oct. 24-25: Region tournament
Nov. 1-2: State tournament

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