With many new contributors, the boys will be looking to bounce back from a 6-11 campaign last fall.
The post-Manning era has officially begun for the Whitman-Hanson Regional High boys’ golf team.
For the first time in eight years, there isn’t a Manning brother on the roster. Yup, it still feels a little strange for ninth-year W-H head coach Brian Dempsey. First there was Cole (2012-15) and Cam (2012-14) and then the last one to graduate this past June, Owen. A two-year captain and two-year Patriot League All-Star, Owen leaves an immense void on and off the course.
“Owen, along with the entire Manning family, will never fully be able to be replaced,” Dempsey said. “What they did for the program and their teammates is something that I recognize as something special. But as we do each year, we move forward and get excited for the guys we have in front of us.”
W-H will be led by a trio of captains in seniors Ian Brown, Brian Fox and Matt Korzec, as it looks to bounce back from a 6-11 season that resulted in missing the tournament for just the second time in the last six years.
“I’m confident that these guys will be excellent leaders, in part because of what they were able to learn from Owen, along with last year’s co-captain Ed Scriven,” Dempsey said. “I can’t say enough about the veteran leadership on the team and the commitment that each of them has made in the offseason to bettering their skills, while also creating a fun and inviting environment.”
Korzec was in W-H’s top four last season.
“He approaches the game the right way and plays with a lot of integrity,” Dempsey said. “We’re looking to lean on him this year not just for his play but his role as a captain as well – he’s already been stepping up in terms of working with his teammates and, again, helping to create a positive atmosphere for the team overall.”
Junior Aidan Miller often battled it out with Korzec for the team’s No. 2 golfer last fall.
“Aidan has always been a worker on the team – he’s not the loudest kid in the clubhouse, but he’s a solid leader through his actions and work ethic,” Dempsey said “He has always been a consistent golfer, who appreciates and respects the game. I think having him as an upperclassman now will really benefit the team, as he’s always positive and beginning to be a bit more vocal and share some of his knowledge of the game.”
After being cut as a freshman and being utilized as a practice player during his sophomore year, Brown surprised last fall, playing in every match. He’s now viewed as a key contributor heading into this fall.
“Not only has he drastically improved his play each year, but his positive attitude and love for the game is hard to miss,” said Dempsey. “He takes his role as captain and position on the team very seriously and we would not be the same team without him.”
Fox’s golf career follows a similar script as Brown’s. He’s also going to be relied upon heavily.
“[Brian] has put a ton of work into his game over the offseason, and I’ve really been impressed with his improvement so far,” Dempsey said. “On top of that, Brian is a natural leader – he’s caring, understanding, and approachable, but at the same time, has the desire to push himself and his teammates to improve each day.”
Junior Graham Stewart and sophomore Pat McBroom should also chip in significantly this season.
The Panthers open the season Thursday, Sept. 5 at 3:30 p.m. at home (Ridder Farm Golf Course) against league opponent Scituate.
“I just want the team to play present as we often say, and enjoy the ride,” Dempsey said. “If you don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing and focus on what you are doing and where/how you can improve, the rest will work itself out.”