Part of our fall series of looking back at league championship teams. This week, we highlight the 2001 WHS Golf team, which won the Cape Ann League title, won the Division 3 North Sectional Title and finished second at the Division 3 state meet.This article (with several additions) originally appeared in the Town Crier in the October, 31, 2001 edition.WEST BOYLSTON – The last time a Wilmington High team won two state championships in a row was when the softball team captured championship trophies in 193 and ’94.
That being said, the opportunities of an athletic team achieving two titles in a row is very difficult to do.On Monday morning, the Wilmington High Golf team went for its second straight Division 3 state title at the Wachusett Country Club in West Boylston. Although the defending champs didn’t come away with the trophy they wanted, they came away with the finalist trophy, taking second place, seven strokes behind frontrunner West Boylston, who won the state title with a combined score of 318 coming on its home course.“Winning two straight state titles is very difficult,” said head coach Al Fessenden. “It doesn’t matter what sport or what level, it’s a very difficult thing to do.”Many of the Wilmington players and parents were upset that the championship match was held on the home course of West Boylston, instead of a neutral site course. West Boylston coach Bob Monk said that he got a call from the MIAA just two weeks ago to see if he could help them out, since the original Division 3 co-ordinator quit weeks before the match.However, in last week’s Central Mass qualifying meet, West Boylston had three golfers under 80, and on Monday, they had three golfers again under 80, so it didn’t matter where the match was held.“West Boylston had some very talented golfers and so don’t we,” said Fessenden. “You’re always disappointed when you don’t win, but it’s a feather in our cap to finish first and second in the last two years.”West Boylston’s top golfer Mike Morrone did admit that his team had the home course advantage.“Definitely,” he answered. “Everyone had all kinds of notes with them trying to figure out the yardage and what clubs to use. We all know everything there is with this course. We know what to hit, when and we didn’t need any of the yardage markers.”The course was a par-72, 36 in the front and the back. Each team sends six golfers out and the top four scores are kept and combined for the final outcome. West Boylston had scores of 74, 75, 79 and 83 for their first four while their last two golfers shot an 83 and 88. Wilmington had scores of 75, 77, 82 and 84 for their first four, and 86 and 88 for their last two.Only one of the 66 golfers – from 11 teams – finished under par, but the Wilmington scores were very good.“Aaron (Ungvarsky) and Kyle (Burns) had very good days,” said Fessenden. “They’ve been our number one and two guys all season, and they’ve been carrying us all year.”Ungvarsky shot the 75 and Burns had a 77. David Velardo, who won the North Sectional Individual title last week with a 77, finished third for Wilmington with an 82. Jordan Ungvarsky, Kevin Velardo and Doug Moran, who like David Velardo are all underclassmen, shot 84, 86 and 88, respectively.
“This was a good experience for the younger kids and we’ll be looking to get back here again next year. We’ve been here for three straight years and that’s quote an accomplishment,” said Fessenden. “We went undefeated the last two years and won 39 straight matches. So taking second place is just the feather in our cap. There’s nothing wrong with second.“I’m very proud of my guys. They have established a great tradition of golf here in town and they should be very proud of what they’ve done.”After West Boylston and Wilmington, Hopkinton was third at 320, followed by Weston and Canton who tied for fourth/fifth, Winchester, Dedham and Hopedale, Nipmuc, Old Colony, Norwell and Old Rochester.Ungvarsky finished in a tie for third in the individual competition and Burns was fifth.NORTH CHAMPSThe week before the state championships, the Wildcats captured the Division 3 North Sectional crown which was held at the Thomson Country Club in North Reading.Wilmington had a combined score of 325, led by David Velardo, who was the individual champion with a 77 and Burns finished with an 82.“It’s just amazing,” said Fessenden. “Two kids shot in the 70’s and the other kid that shot in the 70’s, was a No. 6 player for his team. That course doesn’t dictate length or anything. (Velardo) just told me that he was feeling it.”Kevin Velardo finished with an 84.When the match ended, Fessenden gave out some team awards with Jack Webb receiving the Coach’s Award, Justin Strem was given the Sportsmanship Award and Doug Horan was given the Most Improved Played Award. Both Ungvarsky and Burns shared the Team’s MVP award.On the season, Burns was 16-1, Kevin Velardo was 15-1, David Velardo was 14-3, Horan was 13-2-1 and Strem was 12-1.REGULAR SEASONWilmington finished the regular season with a 16-0-1 record, while extending its unbeaten streak to 39, making it 37-0-2, dating back to the tail end of the 1999 season. The 16-0-1 record gave the ‘Cats the Cape Ann League title, which was the program’s third straight, while they added another one in 2002 and then a fifth one in 2004.The members of the team included: Matt MacEachern, Mike Hackett, Kevin Velardo, Jay Frongillo, Kevin Neville, Jay Surianello, Brendan Strem, Doug Horan, David Velardo, Jordan Ungvarsky, Jack Webb, Justin Strem, Aaron Ungvarsky and Kyle Burns.