Montclair Kimberley’s golf team: A score that beats par, so far
The Montclair Kimberley golf team might have moved down in the pecking order of the Super Essex Conference.
But the Cougars feel that it won’t be long before they go back to the American Division in the SEC, the top division of the county.
For this season, Montclair Kimberley will be in the next-toughest division, the Liberty.
MKA head coach Jeff Beer points to another school as an example of how things might work out.
“Newark Academy moved down to the Liberty a few years ago, and now they are one of the best teams in the conference and the state,” said Beer, whose team finished 3-13 overall and 0-11 in the SEC American Division last year.
The Cougars have started out in fine fashion this year, with a 3-0 record.
In terms of the goal in 2022, the MKA coach sees it this way: “I think we have the same goal as any other team, to have a 60-percent winning percentage at the state cutoff.”
Two of the three wins have been against MKA’s top competitors for the Liberty title, West Orange (188-197, lower score wins) and Verona (175-217).
In the victory over West Orange, MKA had the best next four scores after West Orange’s Samantha Galantini dropped the best at 40 in the season opener.
After Galantini, the Cougars rolled in the next four lowest scores, sophomore Russell Francis (44), freshman Griffin Lalonde (46), senior captain Bryce Cherry (47) and sophomore Aaron Jimenez (51). The top four lowest scores in a match are counted.
Coming into the season, Cherry had the best average returning, at 46.7, while Francis was next-best at 49. Beer expects Jimenez to make a big jump after averaging 53.5 in 2021.
Cherry was an All-SEC golfer in 2021, and the coach believes he will make big strides this season.
“I think he can have a significantly good year,” Beer said. “He has a good swing.”
One other golfer who might make an impact this season is junior Jack Muscarelle, who has worked on his game on his own the previous two seasons.