TOC title caps Colts’ memorable season


Staff Writer

Tim Sewnig wasn’t taking any chances this year.Even when it looked as if the Christian Brothers Academy golf team had the 2006 Tournament of Champions and the overall New Jersey state title locked up, Sewnig, the Colts’ veteran coach, wasn’t taking anything for granted. He still remembered what happened a decade ago.

“I think it was 1996 or ’97 we shot a pretty good score and coaches came up to me and started shaking my hand, congratulating me on winning the championship,” Sewnig recalled. “But I knew there were a number of teams still out there that could also score well. The other coaches didn’t know anything about them, but I knew some of teams because they were from the same county I lived in and I had read about them in the newspaper.

“And one of those teams, West Windsor-Plainsboro, ended up beating us.”

So when this year’s CBA team posted an impressive 305 at the Rumson Country Club to take the lead at the T of C, Sewnig knew better. He had learned his lesson.

“I stayed away from everybody,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t want anybody coming up to me and shaking my hand.”

As it turned out, Sewnig’s precautions only delayed the inevitable. CBA’s 305 was good enough to win the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions by three strokes and give the Colts their first New Jersey state crown since 1998.

“I knew we’d be in the running, but a few teams had a good shot,” Sewnig, who completed his 13th season, said. “Ramapo had the top golfer. He came in two under at 69, but as a team they shot 308, so we had them by three strokes.

“When their 308 got posted I breathed a little easier, but it was still far from over,” he added. “I knew there were a number of teams still out there that could win it. West Windsor, again, had a shot, and Princeton was still out there as well as Hopewell Valley. But it was Ridgewood, who wasn’t even on my radar, which came in with a 308 to tie Ramapo for second.

“So this time our score held up and we won.”

It turned out to be a double bonus for CBA, which was also awarded the Non-Public A state championship by virtue of its low score. The top two teams from Non-Public A North and South, and top two from Non-Public B North and South qualified for the Tournament of Champions, along with the top four from Groups I, II, III and IV to make up the 24-team field.

But CBA had saved its very best for the very end to top the other 23 teams.

“We got hot at the end of the year,” Sewnig agreed.

Not that the Colts weren’t hot all season. In fact, they went a perfect 15-0 during the regular season in the Shore Conference. But then they finished a disappointing fourth in the Monmouth County Tournament back on April 20, four days after Easter.

“Part of the problem was we had a two-week break at Easter and we were not as sharp as usual,” Sewnig explained. “The other teams didn’t win it; we just lost it. We hadn’t played in 10 days. We practiced, but it’s not the same. We lost a little bit of our edge.”

CBA bounced back a few weeks later, however, to win the Shore Conference tournament with a sizzling 310.

“That was our best tournament score before the Tournament of Champions,” Sewnig noted. “The next closest team was 321, so we beat the field by 11 strokes, which was nice. The week before we had three tough matches which I think sharpened us.”

Then came the Non-Public A South sectional tournament where the Colts shot a 312 to finish first and qualify for the T of C. All four Non-Public sectional tournaments – A North and South, and B North and South – were held the same day at Mountain View in Trenton.

“The nice thing about that is we got a good look at our competition for the next week,” Sewnig said. “The A North champ shot a 319 and we beat that by seven strokes. So I thought we had a good chance to win the Non-Public A state championship.”

Of course, the Colts did that and more when they took first overall at the Tournament of Champions.

“I felt pretty good about our chances to win the Non-Public A state title,” Sewnig said. “But to win the whole Tournament of Champions things really had to fall our way.”

And they did as all four CBA golfers shot in the 70s. Senior co-captain Nick Gliozzo led the way with a 72 to finish fourth overall. His brother, sophomore Tom Gliozzo, came in with a 76, followed by Nick Szem, the other senior co-captain, with a 78 and junior Mike Boytono with a 79.

What’s more, CBA’s winning score of 305 tied the Tournament of Champions record. In fact, the previous mark was also set by CBA in 1986 when the Colts won the second of their back-to-back T of C titles.

“I went back and checked our records and found out we had identical scores when we did it in 1986,” Sewnig pointed out. “We shot a 72, 76, 78 and 79 back then, too. Four guys in the 70s.

“That’s what it takes sometimes, a little luck to win like that.”

That and four frontline players like the Colts had this season.

“They’ve been the four who played all four tournaments,” Sewnig said. “We were kind of searching for a fifth guy all season. I had a sophomore play the fifth spot at the County tournament, a senior play the fifth spot at the Shore Conference tournament, and a junior play the fifth spot at the sectional tournament. Some of that was also to give somebody else a chance to play.

“What’s also interesting is in every other tournament you play five and score four. But at the Tournament of Champions you only play four and score four, so no one can slip up.”

The CBA coach quickly pointed out, however, that this season’s success was a total team effort.

“I carried 12 guys and would sub one player for another in different matches and nobody complained,” Sewnig said. “They all did what was best for the team. Everybody got along and we had a lot of fun.

“I told them before the Tournament of Champions that win, lose or draw they were all such great guys. They did everything that was asked of them. Winning was actually secondary. The fun we had as a team I think was the best part.”