Maine Central Institute coach Paul Greco and Winthrop coach Lonney Steeves both have their sights set on a state high school golf championship Saturday, Greco in Class B and Steeves in Class C.
But both coaches know there are no guarantees. Golf teams from all over the state will converge on Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro and scouting reports are sketchy.
“We know we’re going to have to beat Wiscasset and St. Dom’s again,” Steeves said. “They’re two of the tougher teams in there. But you really don’t know what’s going to come out of the northern part of the state.”
Winthrop won the Mountain Valley Conference championship, beating out Wiscasset and St. Dominic, to earn an automatic bid to the state tournament. The Ramblers return the same lineup — Taylor Morang, Adam Hachey, Anthony Owens, Zach Steele and Ben Caprara — that finished third in the state last year.
The top four scores count toward the team championship and, during the opening round of the MVCs, the Ramblers shot 158.
“If the kids can put together a around like that . . .” Steeves said.
St. Dom’s excelled in the individual qualifying this week as its top five golfers qualified for the individual tournament, which takes place at Natanis on Oct. 19. And the Saints are the three-time defending state champions.
Maine Central Institute went undefeated this year but did not face Camden Hills, a team that was seven strokes better this week during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference tournament. The Huskies’ lineup is led by junior Gavin Dugas, freshmen Carter Pearl and Eric Dugas, and seniors Trever Kitchin and Dylan Watrous.
“This year (we’ve) got a shot,” Greco said. “Camden Hills is in our way. My 2 and 3 men are freshmen, they’ve never been here but they got a taste of it Tuesday.”
Class B is by no means a two-team race. Cape Elizabeth is strong, led by Class B individual winner Reese McFarlane, and York is the four-time defending state champs, although the Wildcats graduated several top players.
“They all got shots,” Greco said. “They’re there for a reason. At 10 o’clock when we tee it up everybody’s even.”
Erskine and Maranacook qualified for the Class B championship while Skowhegan reached the state tournament for the first time ever in qualifying for the Class A tournament. Gorham is the defending Class A champion.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638