By Nick Curcuru Sports Editor
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — Following the Division 3 State Qualifying round at Hillview Country Club on October 22, the Manchester Essex golf team thought its season had come to an end with a fourth place finish out of 18 teams in the field.
The Hornets took a disappointing ride back to Manchester Essex Regional High School, but good news came the following day. Head coach Jane McConnell was informed that there was a mistake at the qualifying round and four teams were supposed to qualify for states, meaning the Hornets were in.
After a Hurricane Sandy pushed the match back a week, the Hornets were finally able to compete against the best the division had to offer in the Division 3 State Tournament at Red Tail Golf Course in Devens Monday.
“We went home from Hillview heart broken,” McConnell said. “But we got the news the next day and went back to work. The extra week ended up helping us because we found out the news just a few days before the tournament was originally scheduled to go off.”
Manchester Essex, the Cape Ann League Small champions during the regular season, had a solid showing Monday at Red Tail with a team score of 337, good for sixth place. Westwood took home the win with a 319.
Each team sends six players to the tournament and the top four scores count towards the team number.
Josh Christopher led the way for Manchester Essex Monday with a seven over par 79, Christopher was followed by Ben Bichet who shot an 80. Petey Morton and Troy Ciaramitaro had the next two best scores for the Hornets shooting 88 and 90 respectively. Michael Fuca and Cam Tuttle also competed on Monday shooting a 95 and 96 respectively.
“The conditions were really tough on everybody,” McConnell said. “It was freezing cold plus it’s a difficult and long course. But we put together some solid rounds given the conditions.”
The Hornets look to be back near the top of Division 3 in 2013 as the CAL Small champions graduate just one player and return the rest of the team. Bichet, the CAL Small Golfer of the Year, who was eligible for the individual title Monday and finished 13th, will be back to lead the team again next season.
“Monday was a nice way to cap off a great season,” McConnell “This is a young team and they will be back and improved next season.”