The Montclair High School golf team picked off a key rival last week, setting the bar higher for the rest of the spring.

The Mounties defeated Millburn, 160-169 (lower score wins), on April 13. The victory improved Montclair's record to 3-2. 

"We have a lineup that brings depth," said Montclair head coach Taryn Schnell. "This was a huge upset victory within our division."

The win gave the Mounties a 2-1 mark in the Super Essex Conference American Division, the top division in the county. "Finishing the season with a winning record would be a great accomplishment," Schnell said about the American.

Coming up, Montclair is looking to improve its finish over last year in the Essex County Tournament May 3 at Hendricks Field Golf Course in Belleville. The Mounties came in fifth at the county tournament in 2022.

"Our goal as a team is to place higher than last year in the county tournament," Schnell said. "I believe we have a great chance of improving from last year."

If Montclair does well in the American Division as well as in the county tournament, there is little doubt it would qualify for the state team tournament, another one of the goals on the Montclair golf list.

The top golfer returning is junior Felix Hoerrner, who was named to the All Super Essex Conference American second team last season with a nine-hole average of 41.77.

"Felix is a passionate and dedicated golfer," Schnell said. "He has worked all year on improving his swing and short game. He is currently focused on advancing his putting, with the goal of two-putting each hole or better."

Hoerrner had a 37 in the victory over Millburn at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, but it was newcomer Vertti Hamalainen, a freshman, who pushed Montclair by the Millers with a 33 that was a personal best for nine holes.

The combination of Hoerrner and Hamalainen sets up a good base for the Mounties going into any dual match.  

"We have a bunch of talent on the team," Schnell said. "You will continue to see low scores by both Felix Hoerrner and Vertti Hamalainen."

Against Millburn, junior Henry McDermott and sophomore Jude Pepper chipped in scores of 44 and 46, respectively. 

For the Mounties, two other golfers have been consistent in the early going: junior Erika “Peppi” Hamalainen (Vertti’s sister) and senior Liam Kearns.

In addition to the win over Millburn, the Mounties have defeated Belleville, 196-283, and Montclair Kimberley, 170-189. The two losses have been close, a 161-171 defeat at the hands of Newark Academy, one of the top teams in Essex County and in the state, and a 187-188 loss to West Essex.

In addition to seeing their chief foes in the county tournament, Montclair will have another match with Millburn on May 8 and with Newark Academy on May 16.

Montclair Golf Schedule
(Matches at 4 p.m. unless noted)

April 20 at West Essex, Green Brook Country Club
April 24 at West Orange, Crestmont Country Club
April 27 at Bloomfield, Forest Hill Field Club
May 3 Essex County Tournament, Montclair Country Club, TBD
May 8 Millburn, Montclair Golf Club
May 9 State Tournament, TBD
May 15 West Orange, Montclair Golf Club
May 16 at Newark Academy, Essex Fells Country Club
May 17 at Livingston, Cedar Hill Country Club
May 23 Seton Hall Prep, Montclair Country Club