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By Kim J. Harmon



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By Kim J. Harmon


ven though there are still 10 days to go before the Newtown High School golf team opens its season at the Heritage Village Country Club in Southbury against South-West Conference rival New Milford, the Nighthawks won’t have a whole lot of opportunities to get out on the course and scrape the rust of their swings.

The brutal winter weather – which seems to have finally ceased – will be delaying some course openings and that may leave the ‘Hawks (7-7 a year ago) mostly indoors working on their chipping and putting.

The upside of that, though, is that coach Jim Casagrande returns a pretty experienced team to the links. The only major loss – and it was a pretty major one – was the ‘Hawks No. 1 man, Mike Rostafin, but that just opens the door for the three new captains to take over.

Joe Ziemann.

Mark Werbeck.

Taylor Gunn.

“Those kids did a very good job for me last year,” said coach Casagrande.

The tri-captains will be presiding over an eight-member crew (15 players actually tried out for a spot on the team) that includes seniors Nate Gaines and Jared Nathanson, juniors Tom Ragusa and Mike Hayes, and sophomore Mike Troy. Most of them saw some action in the rotation last year and all have the ability to score.

The junior varsity crew will include Chris Villodas, Ann Schneider, Dave Millar, Tim Byrne, Owen Beams and Greg Korotash.

“Those are the guys I’m going to go with right now,” said coach Casagrande. “I think if they can progress early on, we’re going to be pretty good. But Weston has everyone back and Joel Barlow is going to be good, too, so it’s going to be tough.”

The ‘Hawks will be seeing action a little bit earlier this year – about a week earlier than normal – and that, coupled with the lingering effects of the snows and late winter rains, may cause a few problems.

“It will be a little tough,” coach Casagrande agreed. “And one the schedule, the first half we’re mostly away and the second half were mostly at home – so that’s sort of where we’re at right now.”

Where the ‘Hawks are at come the end of May (specifically, May 29 at the SWC Tournament) will be determined by how quickly the new leadership can get re-acclimated to the course and how quickly the less experienced players can progress.

There are still 10 days to do.

But then it heats up.



Monday, April 16 – versus New Milford and Shepaug (Heritage), 3 pm; Tuesday, April 17 – at Notre Dame (Fairchild Wheeler), 3 pm; Thursday, April 19 – at Jonathan Law (Grassy Hills), 3 pm; Monday, April 23 – at Bethel (Sunset Hills), 3 pm; Tuesday, April 24 – versus Foran (Newtown Country Club), 3 pm; Monday, April 30 – at Weston, 3 pm.

Wednesday, May 2 – at Joel Barlow (Redding Country Club), 3 pm; Thursday, May 3 – at Kolbe-Cathedral (Fairchild Wheeler), 3 pm; Monday, May 7 – versus Pomperaug (Heritage Village), 3 pm; Tuesday, May 8 – versus Stratford (Newtown Country Club), 3 pm; Thursday, May 10 – versus Immaculate (Newtown Country Club), 3 pm; Monday, May 14 – versus Brookfield (Heritage Village), 3 pm; Tuesday, May 15 – at Bunnell (Far Mill River), 3 pm; Thursday, May 17 – versus Masuk (Newtown Country Club), 3 pm; Monday, May 21 – at Watertown (Crestbrook Country Club), 3 pm; Wednesday, May 23 – at Staples (Longshore), 3 pm.

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