By Mackensey O'hara CONTRIBUTING WRITER
---- — While everyone may be weary of the long season of winter-like weather this year, it is especially difficult for area spring sports teams that rely on grass for their competitions.
“We are very good at putting,” said Cooperstown golf coach Dave Peplinski of his team’s indoor practices thus far. “There is a lot to be determined once we get outside and I bet we don’t play our first match until mid-April.”
Peplinski is entering his ninth season coaching the Hawkeyes and has his top golfer returning from last season.
Freshmen Teddy Trosset led the team with a nine-hole average of 41.5 and won medalist awards in six of the 18 meets Cooperstown played last year.
Although the team competitions definitely matter in golf, it is also a very individual sport, and Trosset has some goals of his own.
“His goal is to make the state team this time,” said Peplinski.
In high school golf, there are quite a few steps to get to that team. Over the course of two days, an athlete has to qualify for the section team and then be selected to the section state team. The highest honor is to be chosen as one of ten golfers to represent the entire state (regardless of section).
“He’s been playing all winter, he’s dedicated, and he has the skills,” said Peplinski. “Hopefully he can make it happen.”
If not, he will have three more seasons to try and achieve that top honor.
Looking at the rest of the team, Peplinski will be trying to fill the void left by William Doan and Matt Frevele, who both graduated.
“I’m hoping that the underclassmen can improve and give us some quality matches,” said Peplinski.
Sophomores Max and Tanner Clinton and Michael Kern will be top contributors, along with Kevin Frevele, who played golf as a freshman, and is back for his junior season.
The Hawkeyes have experience in seniors David Zoltick and Kyle Tallman.
“I think we will see good things from them this season,” said Peplinski.
Peplinski is hoping that fellow senior Lucas Lyons will be released to play this season as well, after undergoing rotator cuff surgery last year.
Competing in the Center State Conference, the Hawkeyes will have some tough competition.
“Our toughest opponent is usually Ilion,” said Peplinski. “Now, after the merger, Ilion became Central Valley, and they should be even stronger.
“They have a tough program, but it’s always fun to play against them,” continued Peplinski.
The bottom line is getting outside and being able to play golf.
“It’s nerve wracking for me because we may end up having a match without playing any golf yet,” said Peplinski. “I take the top six players to a match, but it’s tough to see where everyone is at right now.”
At the very least, it’s safe to say that their opponents have been dealing with the same problems.
The Hawkeyes are scheduled to open their season against Adirondack High School on April 7 at home, with their first league match set to be on April 11 at West Canada Valley.