Warriors return six golfers, seek to have another successful season
Published in the September 2, 2016 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — There is a new head coach for the Wakefield Memorial High golf team. However over half of the players are veterans and that bodes well for a Warrior squad that seeks to continue its excellence on the links.
Chris Keane has taken over for Dennis Bisso who has retired. Keane is fortunate to have six returning golfers from last year’s team that went 10-4-0 overall and 7-4-0 in the Middlesex League Freedom division and made the sectional tournament for the third straight year.
The Warriors did win the M.L. Shootout for the first time in team history after coming up short of repeating as Freedom division champs. Wakefield hosted the M.L. Shootout at the Bear Hill Golf Club and playing at home helped the Warriors come out on top against the league’s best golfers last fall.
The new head coach also seen a great turnout of 18 golfers and the Warriors now have a JV golf team as a result of the numbers. That will help Keane, a former JV coach himself in Saugus, fill holes at the varsity level from year to year to keep the program near the top of the Middlesex League.
“We have 10 varsity positions. There were 18 kids that signed up and that was just enough for us to form a JV team,” said Keane. “We’re hoping to have a new JV coach by the end of his week or early next week. We also have scheduled a few matches with several other JV programs.”
Keane would like to keep up the success that Bisso built over the past several years.
“We have six returning seniors and four new kids,” said Keane. “We want to continue the success of the program. All of them having been playing golf over the summer. We’ll be competitive in all 10 spots. With 17-18 varsity matches, several of the players may need a break here or there of if they are hurt and that’s when we can pull someone up from the JV.”
Wakefield lost four players from a year ago. They include Dylan Melanson, Steven Melanson, Kevin Murray and Stephen Marino. Still most of the 2015 club is back.
The Warriors will be led by senior co-captains David Melanson and Mike Guanci. Those two most likely will be playing at the one and two positions this fall for Wakefield.
Melanson played at one and went 8-4 in 12 contests and halved two others. He also shot a 79 in the league shootout.
Guanci, a junior, was injured at the beginning of the season with a shoulder issue. When he worked his way back, he played at number seven until he was ready to move up to the second spot. Guanci, who shot a 78 at the league shootout, posted a 7-3 record and halved four contests.
The rest of the positions of the lineup haven’t been determined yet by Keane.
“I’m working on that,” said Keane. “The captains, David Melanson and Mike Guanci, are going to be at one and two. They’re our leaders and they deserve it. They’ve worked hard for it.”
The rest of the returning seniors include Austin Collard, Tim Hurley, John Evangelista and Justin Sullivan.
Hurley won nine matches, halved three and lost two at the fourth spot a year ago.
Collard played at five and had nine wins as he went 9-4 with one halved contest.
Sullivan played primarily in the alternate matches where he won three contests. Evangelista also played mostly in the alternate JV matches. He posted a record of 8-2 and halved four contests.
The newcomers include juniors Jake Nardone and Matt Auld and sophomores Tom Galvin and Juliette Guanci.
The Warriors continue to practice and get ready for the season opener next Wednesday at Winthrop. Wakefield will play the majority of their home matches at the Thomson Country Club in North Reading. The Warriors also have some dates at the Bear Golf Club, including some practices.
“I’m very excited,” said Keane. “The way to get better is to play as much golf as we can. With a JV team in place, the future is bright as well. We will play our matches and practice at King Rail. The pro over there, Ed Whalley, has really helped us out.”
The varsity team opens up the season on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 3:15 p.m. at the Winthrop Golf Club. The Warriors then open up play in the Middlesex League Freedom division on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 3:30 p.m. at Bear Hill.