This year's edition of Honesdale's varsity golf team posted the first undefeated regular season in school history this fall. Coach Dan O'Neill's Hornets went 11-0 in the Lackawanna League and won their second Northern Division title in four years.
Nearly 100 people gathered at HGC last Saturday evening to celebrate one of the most successful seasons in the history of Honesdale scholastic golf.
Under the direction of veteran coaches Dan O’Neill, Rick Pohle & Jerry Burns, this year’s edition of the Hornet varsity team became the first ever to post an undefeated Lackawanna League record.
The Red & Black went 11-0 in regular season action en route to a Northern Division title and #1 play-off seed. Honesdale drew a first round bye in the tournament and then handed North Pocono a 6-3 loss in the quarterfinals. Alas for local links fans, the Hornets were eliminated by a red-hot Abington Heights squad in the semis.
Despite this ignominious end, the Red & Black still put together a season that will be talked about around the proverbial campfire for years to come. Honesdale authored an overall record of 13-1 and posted a second place finish at the Wayne County Commissioners’ Cup.
Year in Review
Honesdale opened its ‘08 campaign with a decisive win over Carbondale Area (81/2 - 1/2). The Hornets then faced two of their stiffest challenges in back-to-back matches.
Coach O’Neill’s squad had to hold off a furious charge from longtime rival Western Wayne before claiming a 51/2 - 31/2 victory. Less than 48 hours later, the Red & Black defeated perennial powerhouse Scranton Prep in an exhibition showdown. The final score in that one was 5-4.
After blasting Lackawanna Trail (9-0), the Hornets took on defending Northern Division champion Montrose in a match with huge post season implications. The Meteors put up a gallant fight, but eventually succumbed to a deeper Honesdale team that looked invincible on its home course. The Hornets’ 6-3 win left just one high hurdle remaining in their quest for a perfect league season.
On the heels of another shutout (this one at the expense of Susquehanna), the Red & Black went toe-to-toe with archrival Paupack. Coach Bob Simons’ Buckhorns never flinched in this one, but simply didn’t have the firepower to handle Honesdale in what became a 51/2 - 31/2 defeat.
The Hornets steamrolled through the rest of the regular season slate, winning decisively over Mountain View (9-0), Lakeland (9-0), Elk Lake (8-1), Blue Ridge (8-1) and Forest City (71/2 - 11/2).
Awards & Accolades
At Saturday night’s banquet, the coaching staff recognized several golfers for outstanding individual accomplishments this fall.
Ben Krempasky was honored as Honesdale’s Most Valuable Player for 2008. A junior who took the Lackawanna League by storm this season, Krempasky led the team in nearly all major statistical categories.
Ben piled up 13 match-play wins and earned medalist honors on six separate occasions. His 38.25 stroke average was Honesdale’s lowest and helped him snag 20 team points. Krempasky qualified for the District Two Championships and posted an 80 average in tournament action.
Ben won this year’s Wayne County Commissioners Cup by shooting 68 at Red Maples.
Mike Kussoff took home the trophy as 2008 Rookie of the Year. A true freshman who showed the poise of an upperclassman, Kussoff posted a 9-3 Lackawanna League record on the strength of a 41.8 stroke average. Mike earned 151/2 team points on his way to an Honorable Mention berth on the Northern Division all-star squad.
Kussoff saved one of his best performances of the year for the play-offs. Mike helped Honesdale overcome an early 3-point deficit en route to an eventual 6-3 victory over North Pocono. He fired a 36 for a 4&2 decision over Justin Jarbola.
This fall’s Most Improved Player award went to Adam Rogers. A junior who turned in a solid all-round season, Rogers went 7-2-1 in league play and earned an Honorable Mention spot on this year’s Northern Division all-star team.
Team captains Andrew Cliff & Casey Stengel shared the Coaches’ Dedication Award.
Cliff closed out a sensational 4-year varsity career by winning 10 Lackawanna League matches this fall. He was medalist five times, finished 10th overall at the District Two tournament and received a First Team all-star nod.
Andrew’s career record at Honesdale is 33-8-5. His varsity stroke average is 41.72. In years past, Cliff has won both the Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Golfer awards.
Stengel closed out his career with a 19-15-2 overall record. His stroke average is 43.65 and he, too, earned a Northern Division all-star bid (Honorable Mention). Casey was last year’s Iron Man Award winner.
Eric Avery, Arielle Burkavage, Laurel Werner and Evan Kussoff also took home senior awards.
Avery was a two-year mem-ber of the team. Eric posted an overall record of 9-8-0 with a 46.87 stroke average, earning his first varsity letter.
Burkavage held down a roster spot for three years. Arielle’s overall record was 7-5-1 and her stroke average ended up at 63.52. She earned a varsity letter in ‘08 and also owns past awards for Best Girls Average and Most Improved Player.
Werner also spent three years in the Honesdale program. Laurel’s overall record was 7-8-1 and she posted a career stroke average of 62.04. She earned her first varsity letter this fall.
Kussoff was a three-year team member who compiled an outstanding career record of 14-1. Evan’s stroke average was 46.16. He earned a varsity letter and qualified for the district tournament in ‘08.
Over & Out
The evening’s final awards were reserved for jayvees and members of the fledgling girls varsity team...
•Mitchell Daniels: Best JV Average (43.57).
•Eric Avery: Most Improved JV Player (-3.75)
•Casey Leo: Best Girls Average (51.85)
•Casey Leo: Most Improved Girls Player (-8.99)
•Bridget Simons: Best Girls Record (6-4-0).