Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Pressure player


Published:

When the pressure was on, Sebring's Nic Staffieri played his best.

The Blue Streak sophomore averaged a team-best 40.19 strokes for nine holes and played a key role at districts and regionals to help the Sebring boys golf team qualify for the state finals.

Staffieri capped an outstanding season by shooting 78-79-157 to finish 17th at the Class 2A state tournament.

"Nic has been playing for a long time and when it came time to tee it up, he was ready," said Sebring boys golf coach Vince Liles. "He doesn't have any weaknesses in his game and his strength is his putting and a great short game.

"If he keeps working to develop his game he could earn a scholarship to play golf in college."

For his ability and accomplishments, Staffieri has been selected as the Highlands Today 2013 All-Highlands Boys Golfer of the Year.

"It means so much to win this award," said Staffieri. "We had a really good team and the competition to play in the matches made us all better.

"I played solid down the stretch, got hot with my putter and it was a special year making it to state."

The Team

Brooks Whidden, junior, Avon Park - Whidden averaged 43 for nine holes for the Red Devils.

"Brooks is a natural athlete and had the lowest score most of the time," said Avon Park boys golf coach Jason Beatty. "He drives it straight off the tee and hits his irons pretty good."

Jeremy Camino, junior, Sebring - Camino was solid all season and had a nine-hole average of 40.71 for the Blue Streaks. Camino has one of the best swings on the state and played a key role in Sebring making it to the state finals.

"Jeremy is a good player and if he works on his game he could earn a golf scholarship to play in college," Liles said.

Leighton Jahna, sophomore, Avon Park - Jahna averaged 45 for nine holes for the Red Devils.

"Leighton loves the game and doesn't mind practicing," Beatty said. "He played on the Sertoma Junior Golf Tour last summer and really wants to improve.

"He has a positive attitude and drives the ball well."

Ben Tubbs, freshman, Sebring - Tubbs averaged 41.32 for nine holes and came on strong as the season progressed.

"Ben works hard on his game and is only going to get better," Liles said.

Cody Pearlman, senior, Avon Park - Pearlman, who played varsity golf for three years, averaged 45 for nine holes for the Red Devils.

"Cody is a natural athlete," Beatty said. "He hits the ball a long way and can chip and putt pretty well."

Sam Rogers, freshman, Sebring - Rogers averaged 41.44 and played big down the stretch for the Blue Streaks.

"Sam has a great swing and was solid all season," said Liles. "He is a great asset to the team."

Terrell Williams, senior, Sebring - Williams averaged 41.51 for nine holes and was a key contributor to the Blue Streaks success on the links.

"Terrell worked hard to improve and it paid off," said Liles. "His short game and putting were the strongest parts of his game."

Sam Weber-Callahan, freshman, Lake Placid - Weber-Callahan averaged 40 for nine holes for the Green Dragons.

"Sam was very consistent," said Lake Placid boys golf coach Dan Coomes. "He keeps the ball in play and has good course management."

Kade Damboise, junior, Sebring - Damboise averaged 41.63 for nine holes and is being counted on to play a big role for the Blue Streaks next season.

"Kade is a real competitor," said Liles. "If he works on his game he has a chance to play a lot of golf next year."

Cullen Lovett, senior, Sebring - Lovett, an outstanding athlete, averaged 42 for nine holes.

"Cullen played well in his first year on the team," Liles said. "He was the longest hitter on the team."

Matthew Arnan, freshman, Sebring - Arnan averaged 41.78 for nine holes and was another talented freshman who contributed to the Blue Streaks success.

"Matthew has a solid swing and can hit any shot," said Liles. "He will be a force next season."

Jason Cannon, sophomore, Sebring - Cannon averaged 42.22 for nine holes for the Blue Streaks.

"Jason is the most competitive player on the team," said Liles. "He's always practicing and I'm looking for big things from him next season."

Honorable Mention

Zach Jones, sophomore, Avon Park - Jones averaged 50 for nine holes for the Red Devils.

"Zach has a great desire to play golf," said Beatty. "He is always practicing, is a good putter and I'm looking forward to him playing a big role for us next season."

Brent Didomenico, senior, Lake Placid - Didomenico averaged 43 for nine holes for the Green Dragons.

"Brent could hit the ball a long way," said Coomes. "He was a team leader and very coachable."

Coach of the Year

For guiding Sebring to the state finals for the first time in many years, Vince Liles has been selected as the Highlands Today 2013 All-Highlands Boys Golf Coach of the Year.

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