Freeport golf overflowing with talent
Freeport's golf team has one of those good problems this season.
A collection of standout freshmen, improved juniors and experienced seniors puts Freeport in position to contend in Section 3-AA. The trick is figuring out which six golfers should fill the lineup sheet.
“I don't think many teams can match our depth,” junior Matt Swartz said. “We have 10 or 11, even 12 players who can play on varsity and shoot a good score.”
With its seniors alone, Freeport can field a fairly competitive lineup. Captains Robbie Miller, Luke Mariotti and Richard VanDruff lead a group that also includes Greg Newman, Ryley Cowan, Steven Vento and Tyler Bonitsky. Miller and VanDruff ranked as the most reliable scorers a year ago, but almost all of the others also showed flashes of productivity that led to stroke totals in the mid to low 40s.
The eldest members understand their spots in the lineup aren't guaranteed, though.
“I've been on the other side of that,” Miller said. “As a freshman, I came into probably one of the best teams in Freeport history. They were six seniors deep — it was probably a lot like our team is now. And I think me and Richard VanDruff finished fourth and fifth at tryouts on a team that (won the section title).
“So, I've seen the other side of the spectrum, and I know it can be a little intimidating as an upperclassman. But it keeps pushing you, so that you know you can't just get in a groove, go out and shoot a 41 or 42 and keep your spot.”
The top candidate to take Miller's No. 1 spot in the lineup? A freshman girl, Audrey Clawson.
Clawson, just two years into her golf career, has averaged fewer than 40 strokes per nine holes through her first two varsity matches. She shot a 38 to finish one behind Miller in the season opener and had a 39 one day later. She also tied Miller for first during team tryouts, capping the three-day stretch with a score of 122.
“It was intimidating at first,” Clawson said. “But then I realized that I could be better than them, even though I'm a girl.”
Mickey Frazetta is the other half of Freeport's dynamic duo of freshmen. He placed in the top five of the team's first two matches as well, shooting 41 and 47.
Sandwiched between the seniors and the upstart freshmen are Swartz and fellow junior starter Cole Hepler. They, too, shoot in the mid to low 40s.
“It's great for them to have friendly competition and really push each other,” coach Joe Sprumont said of the Yellowjackets. “Just like it's challenging for them to come out and play, it's challenging for me to make the prudent decisions (about the lineup) for every match.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303 ext. 1321.