ITHACA — Four of the best local high school golfers played the final competitive rounds of their careers Monday at the New York State Public High School Championships at Cornell University’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.
The cold, damp and windy afternoon combined with the natural difficulty of the 6,854-yard layout was a final brutal test for Jake Domagal, Joe Miga, Mike Mandel and Jack Angelucci.
The local quartet didn’t have their best days on the course, but testing themselves at such a difficult venue is a good way to close out their successful high school careers.
After an opening round 76, New Hartford’s Angelucci shot 81 to finish tied for 30th place in the 99-player field. Mandel, also from New Hartford, followed up Sunday’s 80 with an 8-over-par round of 79 Monday to finish tied for 35th.
Angelucci didn’t play his best Monday after leaving several strokes out there during Sunday’s round.
“Yesterday I thought I played really well,” Angelucci said. “Both days I didn’t make any putts and today was the worst I hit my irons in a while so that is a tough combination.”
Notre Dame’s Miga totaled 162 after matching 81s in his two rounds, while Whitesboro’s Domagal closed out his high school career with rounds of 84 and 91.
Section 8’s Adam Xiau came from six strokes back to win the tournament after posting an incredible 4-under round of 67 Monday. Xiau’s total of 143 was two better than first-round leader Matt Ferrari of Section 1.
“The course was set up pretty difficult,” Mandel said. “I played pretty well, the doubles killed me … I had three yesterday and they pretty much took me out of it. What are you going to do? I think I played well other than those few swings that cost me. It was fun making states in my final year. I was glad to make it.”
Mandel will continue his golf career with Domagal at McDaniel College in Maryland in the fall. Not many have had as successful a high school golf career as New Hartford’s six-year varsity star. Mandel, was part of six sectional titles and was there for the bulk of New Hartford’s state-record winning streak that reached a remarkable 115 matches before Domagal and the Warriors snapped the streak May 11.
“I won sectionals every year of my career,” said Mandel, who lost just one match during his entire career. “Six straight. It’s pretty cool never losing a sectional title … not many people can say that. It’s pretty sweet.”
Angelucci, played in just two varsity seasons for the Spartans, but made the most of them. The senior played baseball through his sophomore year and didn’t play competitive golf until his junior season. The switch paid off for Angelucci, who will play at Division 2 Mercyhust University in the fall.
“Last February I was still going through winter workouts for baseball and I came a long way and glad for what I’ve accomplished. In retrospect it worked out great,” Angelucci said of making the change from baseball to golf. “All the guys on team have been really supportive. I felt comfortable from Day 1 and to make states twice is great and to have Mike here with me this year, we’ve been friends since fifth grade, is a really great way to cap off our career together.”
Their rival and friend, Domagal, helped Whitesboro snap that amazing streak. That victory and making it all the way to states are two highlights of Domagal’s high school career.
“My career wasn’t bad, but not a great way to end it,” Domagal said of his disappointing finish at states. “The last five years went well and this season was the best one I’ve had with us beating New Hartford.”
The once rivals will be college teammates in the fall.
“It’s pretty nice to have that and be on same team next year … it’ll be fun,” Domagal said.
Miga was the dominant force for the Notre Dame Jugglers all season. Shooting a pair of 81s in his first trip to states, Miga fell just short of his tournament goal, but fully enjoyed the ride.
“It was a fun experience with a great group of people I came down with,” said Miga, who is considering playing at Utica College in the fall. “The course is pretty good too … it’s challenging. I’m proud to make it here. One of my goals was to make states, and once I got here, it was to break 80. I just missed that, but it was a great experience.”
Section 5 won the team competition with a total of (+70). Section 3 (+130) finished seventh out of 11 sections. Shawn Colella led Section 3 with a 156 total (77-79). Nick Bove (161), John Gruninger (163), Kyle Gilroy (170) and Carter Austin (171) round out the scoring for Section 3.