Maranacook’s Brandon Chilton hits during a golf match last year at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Maranacook golf coach Ryan Meserve is aware of how fortunate of a position he’s in this fall.

The defending Class C champion Black Bears return almost their entire team back for the 2023 season.

“It’s always great to return everyone from the year before where you had success, and we return everyone,” Meserve said. “I would say, of that group, everyone has played a lot of golf, and they’ve played a lot of quality golf, not just out with their brother or their friend. They’re playing high-leverage golf, tournament golf. That’s exciting, obviously. My main goal — and the regular season matters, and the start of the season matters — but the end goal is October, when we get to states.

“Last year, the group that I had was one of the most focused groups, in terms of the big picture and the whole end game, that I’ve had in a while,” Meserve continued. “They didn’t just focus on themselves, they focused on coming together as a team, and that really took the pressure off… This year, they’re out there pushing each other competitively, but also being supportive. It’s a really great group of kids.”

Meserve said on any given day, his team — led by No. 1 golfer Wyatt Folsom, James Marr, Ben Jewett, Ethan Chilton, Brandon Chilton and Grady Hreben — have the ability to shoot in the 40s.

“I just hope that they peak at the right time and they have their best season when they can,” Meserve said. “All of them are capable of breaking out where they (want) to be. There are some that can shoot lower than others, but it’s a good group all around.”


MCI’s Owen Moore won the Class C individual title on Oct. 8 at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Maranacook made the move from the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference to the Mountain Valley Conference. The Black Bears jumped out with an 8.5-.5 win over Spruce Mountain in the season opener.

Maine Central Institute once again has a chance at some individual success in Class C. The Huskies return senior Owen Moore, who won the individual Class C championship last fall, as well as senior Jillian Plamondon, the defending Class C girls champion.

In Class B, Gardiner turned out to be one of the surprises of the 2022 season, going from just one win in 2021 to a berth in the Class B championships after a top-four finish at the KVAC championships. The Tigers will boast two of the top young players in the area in sophomore Jack Quinn and junior Austin Gould.

“I know (on any day), I’ve got two of the strongest players around,” Gardiner head coach Ryan Low said.

The question for Low is what will he have for the rest of his lineup. The remainder of the Gardiner roster consists of young newcomers, as well as players who will be switching back and forth between golf and soccer during the fall.

Gardiner’s Austin Gould chips onto the green during a match against Erskine and Waterville last season at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“I’ve got two of the best players that you’re going to have in high school golf this year,” Low said. “Essentially, the rest of my team is a couple of kids new to golf and four soccer players. Looking at the schedule, it’s still going to be a mystery how this plays out. I can see times, like a Tuesday, where everyone can make (a match) and I feel really good about it. Then I see days where we have a match, and there’s also a soccer match, and on days like that, I’m going to struggle to even field a team.”


Cony, which qualified for the Class B championships last fall, returns most of its lineup, giving head coach Shawn Johnson confidence .

“I’ve got a really great group, and it seems like a lot of the younger kids have improved, too,” Johnson said. “At this point now, I’ve got a one and two that’s pretty solid, and three through eight or nine could potentially be in the mid-40s (for scores). That’s incredible depth that I’ve never had before.”

Senior Alex Fournier leads Cony, along with Oliver Rodrigue.

In Class A, Messalonskee head coach Gene Dumont has plenty to be excited about this season, with high numbers and strong returning talent.

“We’ve got a young group, led by a couple of seniors, and they’re showing a lot of promise,” Dumont said. “But promise is promise. We’ll see how they do in competition.”

The Eagles will once again be led by Jacob Moody, who had the second-lowest score at the KVAC championships last fall, and had success in amateur events over the summer.

Skowhegan has one of its largest teams in recent memory, boasting a roster of 16. The River Hawks will be led by Eddie Goff and Silas Tibbetts, both of whom qualified for the individual state championship last year and have already shown promise early in the season.

“We’re on paper better than we were last season,” Skowhegan head coach Dave Martin said. “That can only be good. Plus we’ve got more kids this year. Sixteen is the most we’ve had for a while.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.