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Meet the seven Pingry seniors—equally committed in the classroom as they are in their sport—who earned this year's conference, county, Prep, and state honors. 

Big Blue Beat: Boys' Varsity Golf Team

By Ethan Malzberg '19

Head Coach: Mark McAvoy

Highlights from last season: Under the leadership of sole senior and captain Will Capanna '18, Big Blue had a strong 2018 season, with a record of 12 wins and 2 losses. In Head Coach Joe Forte's 32nd and final season, the team took third at the Somerset County Tournament, and second-place at both the NJSIAA North Jersey Non-Public B Tournament and the Non-Public B Group Championships.

What to watch for this season:
• Following Coach Forte's long tenure, Mark McAvoy takes on the role of Head Coach this season. Captain of Auburn University's Division I golf team during his college years, he later became Director of Golf at Fox Hollow, a position he held for 37 years.

• Michael Gallagher '19 will lead the team as captain this season. Under the leadership of Michael and seniors Jack Grier and Ben Mandelbaum, Big Blue is looking forward to a strong season.

• In addition to Michael, Jack, and Ben, the team boasts five returning varsity players: Alec Bliemel '20, Ian Larson '20, Matthew Mandel '20, Hardy Mennen '21, and Burke Pagano '20.

• Franklin Zhu '22 is a player to watch this season. He played for Team New Jersey in the Junior PGA League Championship last summer. Franklin had an 81.86 average last year with a career best of 74 at the NJPGA Shore Classic in August. Moreover, with a score of 77, he tied for 8th out of 76 players at last year's Junior Event at the Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield.

• An impressive number of young golfers are coming out for the team this season. In addition to Franklin, seven other freshmen join the roster, including Samuel Benton '22, Marc Bliemel '22, Henry Fournier '22, Griffin Faecher '22, Kenan Mushayandebvu '22, Joshua Stevens '22, and Samuel Wexler '22.

• Pre-season training is underway, and the season officially kicks off on Tuesday, April 2 with a match against Bridgewater-Raritan High School at Watchung Valley Golf Course.

Full-court Press:
"I have very high expectations going into the season—we have many strong returning players and we have added quite a few new faces with a lot of potential to our team. Our new coach, Mr. McAvoy, has a lot of success in the golf world, especially as a college player, and hopefully he can lead us to a state championship. Our team has no ceiling this year, so it will be fun to see if we can make a run."—Captain Michael Gallagher '19

"I am looking forward to a good season and hope to keep the Pingry tradition of competing at the highest level this spring. Coach Forte's shoes will be hard to fill."—Head Coach Mark McAvoy

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,