MVRHS golfers tee up two wins

Top Cardinal Spellman and Falmouth to start new season.


The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) golf team picked up its second victory in two starts with a 249-276 Cape and Islands League (C and I) Atlantic Division win over Falmouth at the Falmouth Country Club on Tuesday afternoon. Pete Gillis and Aiden Marek each shot a 39 to lead MV.

Five golfers return this season for the Vineyarders, who posted a 14-2 regular-season record in 2018, won the Cape and Islands League championship, and placed seventh in the state finals.

Junior tri-captains Pete Gills, Andrew Marchand, and Aiden Marek lead the way, with sophomores Cam Geary and Jacob Silvia back for a second season. The Vineyarders also have four promising freshmen, Nick BenDavid, Richie Combra, Ryan Harding, and Liam Marek. Of the nine players on the roster, eight will be starters, up from six last season. 

“I think that we will grow a lot this year, and I think the freshmen, even though they’re playing well, I think there’s a lot of room for them to grow in the next month,” Vineyard Coach Doug DeBettencourt said. “It will be interesting to see where we’re at, at the end of the year.”

The young Vineyard team has plenty of potential, and judging from the drives off the first tee at Farm Neck during Monday’s practice, have some long hitters to boot.

“We’re young, so I think we’re going to need a lot of practice on our short game, because perennially, the younger kids love to hit balls but don’t love to practice chipping and putting, but overall, I think we will develop into a power team,” DeBettencourt said. “I think we have kids who hit the ball a long way, and I think we’ll play well in longer courses. I think that might work to our strength a little bit. They don’t even have to be long courses. Length will be an advantage for us even on some of the shorter holes, because we’ll hit it pretty far off the tee.”

Last season, after a decade in the Eastern Athletic Conference (EAC), the Vineyarders started life in the C and I competing against Sturgis East and West, Monomoy, Rising Tide, Cape Cod Academy, Cape Cod Tech, St. John Paul II, and Nantucket, all of whom, like MVRHS, are Division 3 schools. This time around, the Vineyarders will hit the links against a tough slate of teams in the C and I Atlantic Division: Barnstable, Dennis-Yarmouth, Falmouth, Nauset, and Sandwich. Despite the unforgiving schedule, Coach DeBettencourt still likes his team’s chances to qualify for the postseason and make some waves once they get there. 

“We’ll have a tough road in the league, being in the Atlantic Division, because Nauset and Sandwich and Barnstable are always perennial powers in bigger divisions, but I think we can, more or less, hold our own with them, and we’ll make the state tournament,” he said. “I think, this year, we’ve got a legitimate chance of doing some damage in the state tournament.”

Last Thursday in Brockton, the Vineyarders took the season opener in convincing fashion by defeating Cardinal Spellman, 161-106, using the Stableford system. Nick BenDavid had the low score with a 39; Ryan Harding shot a 40; Pete Gillis, Andrew Marchand, and Aiden Marek each scored 41; and Liam Marek carded a 42. “I had two freshmen with the lowest scores, which, actually, was a nice surprise,” Coach DeBettencourt said. “Scores were all 44 or lower, which is really, really good playing.”

The Vineyarders continue their busy start to the season with a match away to former EAC rival Bishop Stang on Wednesday before teeing off against Nauset in the home opener at Farm Neck on Thursday afternoon (tee time: 2:42 pm).