A year ago, the Deering golf team became the feel-good story of the season by rising from virtual obscurity to win an improbable Class A state championship.
This fall, with everyone back, the Rams were heavy favorites to repeat. They had to like their chances after going 9-1 in the regular season and winning division and league titles. But Saturday, battling cold and windy conditions at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, Deering couldn’t do it again, shooting a 321, which left the Rams third behind Thornton Academy (315) and South Portland (321, which edged Deering on a fifth-place tiebreaker).
Junior Cooper Nadeau had the best individual showing for the Rams, shooting a 78 on the 18-hole course. Sophomore Rocco Spizuoco fired a 79. Sophomore Joe Walp shot an 81 and senior Jake Nichols finished with an 83. Senior Ryan Bourgault’s 90 was considered in the tiebreaker, but it was one shot higher than South Portland’s fifth scorer, Anthony Canarie (89).
“Last year, it was our day, but this time it wasn’t,” lamented Deering coach Billy Goodman. “We shocked everyone last year, but you can’t do it every time. TA deserved it. Their top two shot a 75 and 76. That was the six-shot difference right there. We played better Monday at the SMAA championship than we did yesterday. It’s a bummer. We won the division and the SMAA and did everything we could. We played our best golf in the summer. We were OK later in the season. It just wasn’t our day.”
The Rams graduate Bourgault and Nichols, but return their top three scorers from Saturday: Nadeau, Spizuoco and Walp. Deering should be right back in the hunt again in 2010.
“We have Cooper, Joe and Rocco back, but I’m not sure what I have after that,” said Goodman. “We’ll have to work on getting some kids.”
Cheverus came in sixth with a score of 331. The Stags were paced by junior Kyle Bourassa, who shot an 80. Senior D.J. Honan (81), senior Kyle Randall (85) and junior Nick Burns (85) also scored. Sophomore Mike Haas-Zanghi (97) also took part.
Individual states up next
This coming Saturday, several players from the city will return to Natanis to compete in the individual state finals.
In Class A, Cheverus’ Honan (who had the best qualifying score last week, 72) and Bourassa (79), along with Deering’s Walp (78), Spizuoco (78), Nichols (80), Bourgault (80), Nadeau (80) and Ben Rodick (80) will compete. In Class C, Waynflete sophomore Tom Spagnola will take part. Deering senior Sam Loring and sophomores Delaney Loring and Austin Damault will compete in the girls’ individual state championship.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com