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Pasco preps golf preview


Top teams

Mitchell: The Mustangs return eight of 11 players from last season’s team that won a district title, but came up short at regionals. However, with three seniors and three juniors leading the way, the Mustangs should be the favorite in Class 2A-District 14.

Saddlebrook: The Spartans are coming off a sixth-place finish at the 1A state tournament, but are poised to make another run with the return of their top three players, including one of the best young golfer’s on the junior circuit. Coach Mike Hirschey takes the team into the new 1A-13, which includes Berkeley Prep, but the Spartans should be favored.

River Ridge: The Royal Knights are poised to compete for a regional berth, but they will be eyeing their match against rival Mitchell on Sept. 12. Even still, River Ridge is one of the top teams in 2A-14.

Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls say they don’t have any superstar golfers, but bring depth with 10 players that shoot in the mid 40s. With only three seniors, the Bulls have a chance to send players to regionals, but also should stay competitive in 3A-10.

Zephyrhills: The Bulldogs return five seniors that can all break 40 in a round, plus add depth with a handful of juniors and sophomores thanks to coach Sean Klotz taking over and revamping the program. This may be the deepest team in recent memory for Zephyrhills that wants to remain competitive in 2A-15, which should be led by Jesuit.

Players to watch

Donnie Gabrelcik, Jr., Mitchell: The reigning SAC Golfer of the Year will lead the Mustangs.

Ryoto Furuya, So., Saddlebrook: Had a great summer playing the junior golf circuit and even won the Florida State Boys’ Junior Championship, all of which came after leading the Spartans with a 159 at states.

Anthony Swinford, Jr., Mitchell: Shot a 78 at districts, and should be one of the Mustangs top players.

Mike Springer, So., Mitchell: Shined as a freshman last season and plays with experience beyond his age and grade.

Travis Isabella, Jr., Fivay: Shot a 96 at districts as the only returning player for the Falcons, which are rebuilding this season.

Mike Stewart, Jr., River Ridge: Shot a 75 at districts last season and looks to break through regionals to the state tournament.

Mike Dodson, Jr., River Ridge: Struggled at districts last season, but still can shoot low rounds to help the Royal Knights advance to regionals.

Won Jun Lee, Fr., Saddlebrook: Shot a 71 at districts as an eighth grader.

Bryce Wilson, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch: The Bulls ace that can break 40, even while juggling kicking duties for the football team.

Noah Fleck, Sr., Wesley Chapel: Wildcats top returner that shot an 85 at districts last season.

Stephen Pollock, Sr., Zephyrhills: Became the first Zephyrhills golfer in eight years to grab a regional berth in 2012.


Top teams

Mitchell: The Mustangs look to be favorites in Class 2A-District 14, especially when led by depth and experience. Those factors also keep Mitchell the favorites for the Sunshine Athletic title, but should be pushed by other players and teams. What the Mustangs would like, however, is to play better at regionals and make a return trip to states.

Fivay: Thanks to strong play down the stretch, the Falcons grabbed a district title and regional runner-up title that sent the program to its first state tourney berth. With the team’s top four golfers returning, expectations are high, but in the new 2A-13, they will battle most of Hernando County’s top golfers.

Sunlake: The Seahawks were young last year and still grabbed a fourth-place finish in a difficult and deep district. Now, returning most, including one of the county’s best golfers, Sunlake wants to breakthrough and make its first regional appearance, as most of its competition in 2A-15 coming from Land O’ Lakes and Pasco.

Pasco: The Pirates bring a youthful team lacking no seniors, but expect to be competitive behind coach Don Charlick, who has lost 11 matches as his time as coach. Pasco was 5-5 last year, but are hopeful to get through districts and into regionals.

Players to watch

Ashley Richardson, Sr., Mitchell: The Mustangs leader shot a 93 at districts in 2012.

Brooke Dalton, So., Bishop McLaughlin: Arguably the county’s best golfer qualified for the 1A state tournament as a freshman.

Kelly Harris, So., Sunlake: Shot a 76 at districts to qualify for regions and finished second at the SAC tourney.

Lindsey Ritchie, Jr., Mitchell: Will also lead the Mustangs after shooting a team-best 90 at districts.

Eden Shirmohammad, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Shot a 100 at districts and looks to keep the Gators competitive.

Kaylee Britton, Sr., Pasco: The Pirates top golfer looks to improve on 101 shot at districts.

Remlee Horrigan, Jr., Wiregrass: The Bulls top returner — shot 96 at districts — should help make coach Jeremy Calzone’s first season an easy one.

Amber Mariano, Sr., Fivay: One of the Falcons’ team leaders shot a team-best 97 at districts.

Taylor Rhodes, Sr., Fivay: The other Falcons leader shot a team-best 96 at regionals.

Sydney Owens, Sr., Zephyrhills: Shot a 90 at districts to lead the Bulldogs.

Correspondent Mike Camunas covers prep sports in Pasco County and can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @MikeCamunas.

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