NHIAA Golf: Bedford shoots for the top
Bedford's Ryan Brown, left, and Justin Clutter take a break from practice at Manchester Country Club on Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Whether there is a changeover at the top among teams remains to be seen.
Bedford edged Keene by five shots for its first Division I title — it won championships in Division II in 2009 and 2010 before taking a step up — and lost five starters from its lineup.
"We always hope that we'll be contenders at the end," said Bedford coach Joel St. Laurent. "We're probably in a little bit of a rebuilding year. We have some nice players, but we don't have the depth we've had. We're not as strong as we've been at this point in the past, but some of our kids have really stepped it up since last year."
On the individual side, Keene's Chelso Barrett, who won the last three Division I titles, has taken his game to Texas Christian University.
"I really think it will be wide open," St. Laurent said. "We'll try to stay with those guys and see if we can hang with them. We just want a chance when it comes to tournament time."
Hanover held off Windham for the Division II title each of the last two seasons. The Marauders lost a couple of key players from last year's team and coach John Donnelly thinks Windham, which beat his team during the regular season each of those years, should be considered the favorite this time.
Senior Connor Greenleaf, who won the Division II individual title a year ago, is back to lead a veteran Windham group. Fellow seniors Adam Dolan and Matt Howard, juniors Pat Higgins and Eric Butler and freshman James McKee join Greenleaf.
Bow beat Mascenic of New Ipswich by five strokes to win the Division III championship last year and may have a better team this time around. The Falcons must contend with teams such as Pelham and Gilford as well.
The Falcons have seniors Jake Rand and Josh Lacasse and junior Jeremy Duhamel back and also add a couple of talented freshmen in Doug Champagne and Colin Plumb.
Derryfield, which won six titles from 1998-2005, held off Newport for the Division IV crown last year and has five of its top seven back. Junior Patrick McGinley, who was runnerup in the individual tournament in the class, leads the way.
The girls' individual title is also up for grabs this year with the graduation of champion Jocelyn Ojala of Mascenic and runnerup Colette Schmidt of Lebanon.