Mariano Medico, Chase Makowski and Michael Boland spent many of their summer days at Huntsville Golf Club, golfing together, working on their individual games and preparing for the high school season where they are teammates at Holy Redeemer.
That preparation appears to have paid off.
Medico, a Shavertown resident, won his second straight individual title Monday at the Wyoming Valley Conference Tryba Preseason Tournament. With help from Dallas residents Makowski and Boland, Medico also led Holy Redeemer to the team title.
“It’s a good tournament to sort of feel out the competition, feel out where we are on the team level,” said Medico, who shot even-par 71 and led Holy Redeemer to a 17-stroke team victory over Crestwood. “With the high expectations that we have as a team this year, for me, it was to see what we are up against in the conference.
“There are a couple of teams that can give us trouble in the conference, but if we are play our game, we have a real good shot at the conference championship.”
Medico also placed third in the Tryba Tournament as a freshman and second as a sophomore before picking up the first of his two wins last season.
His current and future teammate helped the Royals dominate the tournament. Both Medico and Makowski made commitments to play Division I college golf at Monmouth University in New Jersey during August.
“We’re both going to the same school, both playing Division I golf, so we’re really excited,” Medico said.
Makowski tied for fifth with a 76 and was one of four players who made up the Holy Redeemer team score.
Boland shot a 79, which did not count in the team score because four Holy Redeemer players shot 78 or better. It was plenty good enough, however, to have helped with the team title if his score was needed. It also made him one of just 11 players to break 80 out of 76 in the field.
Medico needed to recover from a bad hole to win his title. He offset a triple bogey on 7 at Fox Hill Country Club and another bogey with four birdies.
“It was nice that he can have a bad hole in the middle and be able to get it all back,” Holy Redeemer coach Art Brunn Jr. told The Times Leader. “I’m proud that he didn’t give up and he hung in there like that.”
Medico made it back to even par at 16 when he recovered from a hooked tee shot to punch out from the trees 100 yards away all the way to the front of the green. From there, he made a 25-footer for a birdie-3.
“That was really big for me to get it back to even with two holes to play,” said Medico, a junior member at Huntsville, who is also a member at Fox Hill where his father and grandfather have been long-time members.
Medico finished fifth in the state in Class AA last year. He considers a state title to be within his capabilities.
“Last year, I sort of said to myself, ‘if you can place, it would be great’,” Medico said. “This year, I feel like I really want to win that state championship.
“ … I think I’m going to go in with a little different attitude than last year and go in there thinking I can compete to win.”
Medico has learned he can rely on his long game, so his concentration is often on execution in the short game in order to produce the best scores possible.
“I think I’m sort of at the point where I’m hitting the ball the same just about every time I play,” Medico said. “I think it’s just a matter of if my putts drop. That’s the focus for me right now — my putting.
“I know that if I can roll the ball well, then I’m going to score well. That’s the thing I’ve really been working on and I know I have to get a little better around the greens because I’ve been a little streaky with my chipping.”
Holy Redeemer shot a 298 and Crestwood 315. Coughlin was next with 325, followed by Tunkhannock with 336.
Dallas shot 339 to place fifth out of 13 teams. Lake-Lehman was one of the three schools that entered individuals, but not enough for a four-player team score.
Medico won the individual title by two strokes over teammate Andrew Crossin.
Sean Solytsiak led Tunkhannock by shooting 77 to finish seventh overall.
Chad DeBona led Dallas with an 82, one shot better than teammate Ryan Georgetti.
Nick Egan and Adam Motovidlak each shot 84 for Lake-Lehman.