VERNON – The record streak has reached the century mark!
The New Hartford boys golf team extended its state-record win streak to 100 by attaining its 99th and 100th consecutive victories during Friday’s tri-match with Proctor and Camden at Crystal Springs Golf Course.
New Hartford defeated Proctor 186-275 for their 99th victory and Camden 186-273 to reach 100. The Spartans haven’t been defeated in over six years of play and are the gold standard of dominance for Section 3 golf teams. Head coach Tom Snizek has been the mainstay in building and bringing the program into rarefied air.
“We have to keep riding this freight train as long as we can,” Snizek said to his team after the victories. “To reach 100 … I never would’ve imagined it. I think there’s always been a great tradition from the time of Paul Swancott and Paul Piotrowski. They are two guys I looked up to. Swancott started the program and Piotrowski took over and I’m just trying to carry on the tradition.”
From Derek and Alec Bard to Tommy Mandel and Matt Dreimiller, Snizek’s Spartans have dominated for a decade. They’ve won a sectional title in nine of Snizek’s 10 previous seasons, including seven straight.
With every new season, there are new leaders and underclassmen that improve with every passing practice and match. The Spartans have had numerous players come through with clutch performances to keep the streak alive as New Hartford’s depth and talent through its entire roster has been vital in attaining records and championships.
Friday it was sophomore Fox Humphrey’s even-par 35 that lead the way. Ryan Zogby (36), Jack Angelucci (38), Randolph Butler (38) and Mike Mandel (39) rounded out the scorers for New Hartford. Riley Scott and Bailey Zalepski led the way for Camden, carding 51 and 52, respectively to help the Blue Devils edge the Raiders by two strokes. Proctor was led by Christian Stoddard (49) and Nick Matrulli (51).
“It’s a big deal for me to get to this (milestone),” said Humphrey, who had three birdies and three bogeys during his round. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good school, good team and everyone is fun to be around.”
Zogby and Mandel each have been part of the streak since joining the team during the 2013 season.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” Zogby said. “A lot of guys have been on this team during this streak and we’ve worked hard for this. I’m happy for everyone. Going back to Derek Bard … he was a senior during my first year and they (leaders) helped me work hard and improve my game over the years.”
Mandel, like Zogby, has yet to lose a match during his entire career and hopes to continue this amazing run through next season.
“Not too many sports teams, aside from the UConn women’s basketball, can say they’ve won 100 straight,” said Mandel, a junior, who joined the team in seventh grade. “I’ve gone four straight years without losing and my goal is to finish out this year and next without losing. It would be pretty amazing to go six years without losing. Not too many would be able to say they never lost a match in high school.”
Setting the mark against Camden also has some added meaning, since it was the Blue Devils who were the last team to defeat the Spartans. That match came in the 2011 season-opener.
“Camden is proud that we were the last team to win versus New Hartford,” said Camden head coach Dustin Losurdo. “In any sport a streak like that is extremely impressive … especially with the turnover from year to year.”
Since that defeat in 2011, not even very talented teams throughout the section and Tri Valley League have been able to derail the Spartans. Snizek tries to keep it fun with the team, and often jokes with his leaders about not being the ones to let the streak end.
So far, so good as New Hartford has reached two of its main goals for the 2017 season. On April 11, the Spartans won their 93rd consecutive match with a 203-265 victory over Vernon-Verona-Sherrill to break Skaneateles’ previous state mark of 92 set from 1987-1991. Now at 100 and counting, the Spartans have set a standard and surpassed a goal they’ve had since breaking the record.
“Ryan and Mike are the captains and they take control at practices,” Snizek said. “A lot of our success is having great seniors and great leadership through the years. I talk to them about it and we go back and forth about it. They don’t want to let the streak die. The loss is coming sometime. Breaking the record and reaching the 100 milestone were the goals … now the pressure is off.”
While the Spartans have already accomplished so much this season, the pressure of being a captain and maintaining the high standard is something Zogby embraces.
“It’s really an honor,” Zogby added about being a captain. “This year I took on the captain’s role with Mike. This year it was more pressure because everyone thought we lost all of our guys, with Alec (Bard), Tom (Mandel) and Matt (Dreimiller) graduating. But everyone has worked hard every day to keep it going.”
Friday’s match was played in terrible conditions with temperatures in the 40s and winds howling. The Spartans ability to consistently handle the cold, rain and wind makes their streak even more impressive to Proctor head coach Dave Minicozzi.
“I think it’s amazing,” Minicozzi said. “It’s unheard of, especially in Central New York where weather can be a huge X-factor. (The weather) is just another challenge you’re playing against. What I also like about (New Harford) is that they help our kids. Our kids learn a lot playing with them.”
Part of the Spartans’ success in poor weather can be credited to Snizek owning Crystal Springs. With half of its matches being played in less-than-stellar conditions, the Spartans are able to get in needed early-season rounds. Snizek also makes it a point to make his team play in the worst of conditions.
“It’s an advantage to have a place like (Crystal Springs),” Snizek said. “It’s great for us. We’re shoveling off greens so we can get a start and it’s an advantage for us because we play all the time in bad weather.”
The Spartans go for No. 101 Monday when they host rival Whitesboro at Yahnundasis Golf Club. The Warriors, who were the dominant golf team in the area before the Spartans began their streak, are still New Hartford’s stiffest challenge.
“We want to beat them and they want to beat us,” Snizek said. “I know it’s a rivalry, but I don’t really look at it that way. We enjoy the competition of playing them. Jacob Domagal (Whitesboro player) is a member here and if anyone is going to knock us off, I hope it’s Jake and his friends.”
New Hartford 186, Camden 273, Proctor 275
at Crystal Springs, Par 35
New Hartford (11-0): Fox Humphrey 35, Ryan Zogby 36, Randolph Butler 38, Jack Angelucci 38, Mike Mandel 39.
Camden (3-7): Riley Scott 51, Bailey Zalepski 52, Colin Isam 54, Greg Lyon 57, Colin Ross 59.
Proctor (0-10): Christian Stoddard 49, Nick Matrulli 51, Hunter Garramone 56, Joe Falvo 59, Brendan Kelly 60.