The St. Johnsbury Academy golf team is off to a good start this season. The Hilitoppers have recorded a 3-2 record as of Wednesday. In their two 1OS~ ses, they have finished second and third.
The Academy returns six golfers from last year's squad. Back are seniors Jayden Little and Saksarun Thavikulwat, juniors Rob Slatter and sophomores Kyle Martell, John Kipp and Bryan Sayles.
New to the team this season are sophomores Joshua Douglas and William Baslock, who are joined by freshmen Kyle Kirch, Tristan McKnight, Alex McGregor, Tracy Hruska, Tim Patterson, Lucien St. Onge, Lance Gorham and Kate Roberts.
The group of eight freshmen have sixth-year SJA coach Tim Whalen smiling. quot;I'm excited to have a real solid group of freshmen,quot; he said. quot;It will give us a solid base to count on for the next several years.
Whalen feels the standout golfer on this year's team is Kirch, who transfered from Peoples Academy after the first semester.
quot;He has excellent skills and the best golfer we have,quot; Whalen said. quot;If he continues to improve, he should become one of the state's outstanding golfers. It will be interesting to see how he will do as an individual in the Division I sectional.quot;
After Kirch, look for Slatter, Martell, Kipp and Little to do most of the Academy's scoring. quot;In order to be successful this season, the above golfers will have to stay consistently in the low to mid 40s,quot; said Whalen.
For a season goal, Whalen has challenged his team to win more matches than they lose and he feels that they are capable of doing it.
On Wednesday in the cold and wind at the Montpelier Country Club, Montpelier nipped St. Johasbury Academy by four strokes, 177-181. Following those two were U-32 with a 192 and Enosburg with an even 200.
The Hilltoppers were led by Slatter, who came in with a 41. Following Slatter were Kirch and Martell, who both had 46s. Hruska rounded out the scoring for SJA with a 48.
The 'Toppers are back in action on Friday at the North Country Invitational. On Monday, the Academy will host Peoples, Randolph and Burke Mountain Academy at 3 p.m. at the St. Johnsbury Country Club.