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Eagle golfers tied for first place after Week OneCocalico to be in thick of things while young Mounts to improve
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
If there is one thing that’s evident based on the first two golf matches of the high school season, it’s that Cocalico should be in the thick of things in the Section Two race.
The Eagles opened the season last Thursday at Foxchase, going a perfect 6-0 on the day to earn the clean sweep of the section. Three of the four in the Cocalico lineup shot in the 70s with Trevor Bensel leading the way with a 74 which placed him second only to Garden Spot’s Aaron Fricke (73) individually on the day. Christian Graybill added a 76 while Nate Sauder came in with a 77. Nathan Artz rounded out the Eagles’ lineup with a solid round of 81 to give the Eagles a grand total of 308 strokes, four ahead of second-place Garden Spot (312).
Solanco (327) was third while L-S (331), Ephrata (341), Manheim Central (342) and Lebanon (498) rounded out the team scores. Ephrata was led by Lacey Bensing and Ryan Lefever, who both carded rounds of 80. Megan Esterbrook was third with an 86 while sophomore Aaron Hubbard closed out the Mounts’ lineup with a 95.
Tuesday afternoon, the teams traveled to the southern end of the county to Tanglewood Golf Course where Cocalico went 4-2 while Ephrata finished 2-4.
Host Solanco finished first going 6-0 with 320 strokes, followed by Garden Spot (333), which edged Cocalico by one (334). L-S nipped Ephrata for fourth place, 343-345, while Manheim Central (346) and Lebanon (479) rounded out the team scores.
Tuesday’s results left Solanco, Garden Spot and Cocalico tied atop the section with identical 10-2 records. Ephrata is in fifth at 4-8.
Individually, Bensel led the way for the Eagles, carding a round of 75. Sauder was second with an 83, followed by Artz (87) and four man Hans Shollenberger, who had 89.
Esterbrook paced Ephrata with an 82 while Bensing was next at 83. Lefever placed third on the team with an 88, and Hubbard closed out the lineup with a 92.
Manheim Central will host the next Section Two match Thursday afternoon (1 p.m.) at Iron Valley.
With all but one (Codi Pannebecker) of its top six players returning, Cocalico figures to be in the section race for the long haul.
Bensel, Graybill, Sauder and Artz may just be the best foursome any team in the section can run out each match. But as Coach Chip Kappesser said, it will come down to production on the course.
“All of my top five guys played in matches last year,” he said Tuesday. “And to be honest with you my fifth guy (Hans Shollenberger) can play. It’s just a matter if he starts getting it. Trevor, along with Fricke (of Garden Spot) definitely are two of the more talented players in the section. But as a whole, I think my four have the ability to go lower than the other teams’ four. But they still have to do it. It’s really an ‘on-any-given-day’ type of thing.
If Cocalico does come through, Kappesser says he sees no reason why his team can’t challenge for the section title.
“I think we have a shot,” Kappesser said. “I think we have as good a shot as anybody. I’ve been lucky because for the most part I’ve had some kids who are decent golfers over the years. We’ve had at least one kid go to districts every year so that’s been a good thing. Hopefully that continues.”
Kappesser said he believes if Sauder, Artz and Graybill can all average “around 80” and Bensel can continue to score in the mid-to-low 70s, his squad will be in the running.
“If that were to happen, then we are probably in good shape,” he said. “And I don’t think that’s unreasonable.”
Kappesser sees Garden Spot and Solanco as his squad’s biggest challengers in the section race.
Ephrata, which boasts no seniors, enters the season looking to replace three-fourths of its starting lineup from 2010 team, including Jon Bensing, defending L-L girls champ Lauren Smith and Matt Lehman.
The lone regular returnee is junior Lacey Bensing, who takes over the top spot in the lineup. Bensing was runner-up to Smith last year in the L-L Tournament
“Lacey is a very talented player,” Ephrata Coach Ed Gambler said. “She has very solid mechanics. She has been very well taught, not just by me, but she also has a private instructor. Her swing is very well put together. She’s mechanically very sound. She’s also extremely mature for her age and really manages the course well and does a good job of managing her emotions on the course. I’m expecting her to have a very good year. She’s certainly one of the top girls in our league and probably also in the district again.”
Lefever, a junior, takes over the two spot this season after a solid summer on the Lancaster County Junior Tour in which he qualified for the prestigious War of the Roses Tournament after finishing in the top four point earners.
“Ryan really improved during the season last year,” Gambler said. “He’s a really hard worker and takes the game very seriously. He worked hard over the summer and is getting the benefits of it now. He’s really starting to play well.”
Esterbrook, a fellow junior, is solidly in the third spot in the Ephrata lineup after placing sixth in the L-L League girls while also claiming a District Three medal.
“Megan finished the season very strong,” Gambler said. “She was playing really well around leagues and districts. She won a medal at districts and again, is just a really hard worker. She plays constantly, practices and takes lessons. She’s very serious about her game. She’ll improve more as the year goes on and is nowhere near her potential yet.”
There will be a battle for the final spot in the Ephrata lineup between a group of four up and coming players, including juniors Evan Radcliffe and Ryan Fritz, along with sophomores Brenden Ruth and Hubbard.
“They are young players with a ton of potential,” Gambler said of the four. “I can tell they all have great attitudes. My biggest thing as a coach has always been just as important as the wins and losses is the attitude of the team and having good kids out there who are good sportsmen and who really appreciate the integrity and the gentlemanly behavior of the game. And I think all the kids this year seem to have that quality. I’m real excited to see where we go with that.”
With such a young squad, Gambler said his team is about a year away from competing for a section crown.
“I told the kids our big goal this year is to improve,” he said. “We are probably not ready to challenge for a section crown this year. Our goal is going to be to get better every match and try to improve our standing among the teams, because there is a gap between some of those top teams and where we are. I have no seniors this year so all of these kids are coming back. It’s a great chance to build and really try to get some momentum and team unity and all those other good things that go towards trying to make a run at it next year hopefully.”
1. SOLANCO (320): C. Sheehan 75; J. Howell 78; G. Yarnall 81; B. Wisse 83.
2. GARDEN SPOT (333): A. Fricke 74; J. Martin 85; T. Beegle 86; Z. Hildebrand 88.
3. COCALICO (334): T. Bensel 75; N. Sauder 83; N. Artz 87; H. Shollenberger 89.
4. LAMPETER-STRASBURG (343): D. Cenekofsky 82; J. Jabour 84; M. Godfrey 87; T. Herrin 90.
5. EPHRATA (345): M. Esterbrook 82; L. Bensing 83; R. Lefever 88; A. Hubbard 92.
6. MANHEIM CENTRAL (346): E. Perron 83; A. Proud 85; B. Hollinger 88; H. Goodling 90.
7. LEBANON (479): B. Loeper 107; M. Rosairo 111; J. Eisenhour 122; T. Downs 139.
1. COCALICO (308): T. Bensel 74; C. Graybill 76; N. Sauder 77; N. Artz 81.
2. GARDEN SPOT (312): A. Fricke 73; J. Martin
78; Z. Hildebrand 79; T. Beegle 82.
3. SOLANCO (327): C. Sheehan 74; G. Yarnall
82; B. Wisse 85; J. Miller 86.
4. LAMPETER-STRASBURG (331): R. Backes 75; T. Herrin 84; M. Godfrey 86; J. Jabour 86.
5. EPHRATA (341): L. Bensing 80; R. Lefever
80; M. Esterbrook 86; A. Hubbard 95.
6. MANHEIM CENTRAL (342): B. Hollinger 75; H. Goodling 81; E. Perron 92; A. Proud 94.
7. LEBANON (498): J. Eisenhour 121; M. Rosairo
121; B. Loeper 122; T. Downs 134. More GOLF, page B-2