Golfers eye 2018 season
The Northampton golf team recently concluded its 2017 season.
And while they weren’t able to advance anyone to the state tournament, the future of the team is definitely bright, even after finishing 16-2 this year.
The Kids were among the top teams in the East Penn Conference and suffered some disappointing and close losses during their regular season. In the EPC tourney, the team finished sixth, which was another bit of a disappointment as they were looking to avenge some earlier losses from the season.
However, the team rebounded with a second place finish at districts, something that can possibly be used as a steppingstone for the 2018 season.
“The team did well, we finished second,” said Andrew Hozza after districts, who will return next year for his senior season. “We came through, that’s good. [It] was a bit of redemption, sixth in leagues to second. Hopefully next year we’ll improve more and take districts home. We have majority of team coming back.”
“Overall, we had a great year and we steadily improved throughout the year,” said head coach Brian Davies. “We were able beat Emmaus, who gave us one of our two losses, at the district championships. I was hoping for a district championship, but Liberty’s team was stacked from top to bottom. I am grateful that we were able to compete for the championship and gain valuable experience for next year.”
The team will lose Jack Test and Kate Gogel to graduation next year, but return golfers like Hozza, Devon Britton, Andrew Kovalchik and Anthony Sawarynski, who were regular contributors this season. This year, they were all able to get the feel for what postseason golf is like.
“The more experience the team can get, I feel like the better we’ll play,” said Hozza. “A couple of these guys it was their first time in districts, and maybe nerves got to them, I don’t know. We still performed. Hopefully next year we’ll be more prepared and know what to expect and be able to take it home.”
“We are losing two senior starters in Jack Test and Kate Gogel. However, we have several underclassmen that are hoping to replace Jack and Kate in the starting lineup,” Davies said. “Next year we will have rising seniors Hozza, Sawarynski, Britton, Kovalchik and Jess Bretzik anchoring our lineup.
“With junior Nate Wheeler, who was my most improved player of the year this season, I think we have a bright future next year, and we expect to be competing for the League and District 11 championship next year.”
As far as experience goes, there’s really nothing else that can prepare you for postseason tournaments like actually playing in them, and Hozza knows firsthand all through his high school career. Hozza wasn’t able to advance past regionals this year, getting off to a bit of a rough start in the tournament early on, which included a couple of triple bogeys over his first few holes. He was able to settle down after that and on the back nine of the course shot a 41. However, the experience at regionals may just help him get over that hump a year from now.
“Last year being in districts helped me this year. Freshman year helped me sophomore year,” Hozza said. “So I’m assuming when I play at regionals, hopefully I can do well. If I do well, that might mean I can do well my senior year too.”
Mike Haines contributed to this story