The pre-season buzz was that the ‘84 golf team would be happy to come even close to the ‘83 team’s remarkable 13-1 record, which had been capped with both the Mercer County and State Prep crowns. But when the dust and divots settled, Coach John Bolla’s ‘84 squad actually went their predecessors one critical match better - going undefeated at 12-0, avenging the single ‘83 loss to Lawrenceville, winning the Mercer County Tournament once gain, and repeating the New Jersey Prep A title. The pre-season buzz became a roar!
As the season began, there was some reason for optimism. Three of the top five ‘83 players - Captain Sam Del Presto, Will Williams, and Dan Goodman - returned to give the team a good nucleus. Then “promising newcomers,” as The Peddie News labeled Mark Farrell and Greg Lesher, added unexpected quality and depth.
Led by Sam, Greg, and Bill, the team got off to a powerful start. The closest of the first five matches was the nine-stroke margin over Hill. Next came Montclair-Kimberly, the toughest opponent to date. Rising to the occasion, Peddie’s five broke the 200 barrier with Bill, Greg, and Sam all shooting in the 30s. Then came the big showdown with L’ville. In the season’s climactic match, it was Mark’s 77 that led Peddie to what the News called, “a grueling four-stroke victory in a tough 18-hole match.”
At the New Jersey Prep Tournament, Peddie took the team title with a slim two-stroke victory over Lawrenceville. The battle for top individual honors, however, was even closer. After 18 holes, Sam and Greg were tied with an L’ville player, each of the three having shot an 80. Sam emerged as the tournament champion after the second playoff hole.
As captain, Sam often earned low-man honors and led the team to the Mercer County Tournament crown with a 79, defeating his nearest opponent by 3 strokes. In choosing him as its Athlete of the Month for May, the Peddie News rightly noted that Sam “played extremely well for the entire season and played even better when it counted most.”
The Sports Hall of Fame welcomes this marvelously talented and equally successful group of players as the first golf team to enter the Hall.