Thursday October 10, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
The Eden golf team celebrates after finishing off its undefeated regular season and perfect record in ECIC Small School South Division.
Eden got a feel for finishing at the top of the golf standings, last season. The Raiders liked it so much, they returned there this season, and did it in even easier fashion.
After getting over the hump in knocking off long-time power Iroquois last season on its way to a first outright division title, Eden finished a consecutive unbeaten season at 10 – 0 and managed to score a season-best 239 in its match at Iroquois. Only Williamsville North shot a lower score, during the 2013 regular season.
Even without former head coach Keith Crombie, the Raiders continued what they’d started, with a seamless transition to new coach Paul O’Connor and a repeat as the Erie County Interscholastic Conference Small School South champions.
“The confidence from them has just been huge,” said O’Connor, who took over after Crombie stepped aside. “And all of the guys are members of the Gowanda Country Club and play all of the time. That helps.”
Five of the team’s players are seniors providing upperclassmen leadership, and three of those players rank in the top 12 in Western New York.
Aaron Orechwa is seventh out of 80 ranked competitors in WNY, while A.J. Feldman is right behind, in ninth, and Trevor Dobrzenski is 12th. Rounding out the top five on the team are juniors Louis Bartus and Mitch Lang.
O’Connor said his top three have been consistent and never seem to be fazed, throughout the season. Dobrzenski has been so cool under fire, he’s earned the nickname “Smooth” from his coach.
“The senior leadership has been huge and they’ve really done a good job with the younger guys on the team,” O’Connor said. “They’ve all really done well and are such nice kids. It reminds me of the kids I used to coach in volleyball and basketball at Williamsville North.”
But, when the athletes have hit the links, Eden has played with the edge of a veteran team, even more confident in its ability.
Last season, the Raiders may have been content to just make the team championships, which featured the champions from the four ECIC divisions. This year, it looks to be a team that can compete, O’Connor noted.
“It’s been great,” he said. “What Keith got started here is great. I’ve stepped in, but the foundation has been laid.
The ECIC championships individual qualifier for Section VI will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 15 and the ECIC Team Championships will be the next week, Monday, Oct. 21.