CRESSKILL, N.J. — The Cresskill High School varsity golf team started training this month, and members are aiming to win this year's championship after a 13-year drought.
Head Coach Adam Preciado of Dumont saw the Cougars' record improve from 4-11 in 2014, his first year with the team, to 8-11 last year.
Now, he's hoping to have access to local country clubs that may allow the team to work on chipping and putting, Preciado noted.
“I spend more time on their mental approach than how they are swinging the club,” said Preciado, who manages a dozen coed varsity players.
“In the end they are comparing themselves to other players, but I tell them to focus on the course and that they are really only as good as their last shot."
The team is welcoming back Don Bosco Prep School junior transfer Laurent Span, who has already been spotted by several colleges and universities.
“Laurant is one of the most determined athletes,” Preciado said. “He won’t tell me about how well he played.
"He'll tell me about the approach on number four, or the shot he wishes he could get back.”
Span joins seniors Brendan Lee, Seri Park, and David Hong who have all played at least three years at the varsity level.
The team expects to face Emerson and Park Ridge High Schools, Saddle River Day School, Dwight Englewood School, and Waldwick High School deep into competition.
With a decade of playing golf under his belt, Preciado finds the sport to be a different type of challenge.
"Once they are out there, they are on their own," said the coach of his athletes on the green.
“We can’t say 'take an extra club if you are hitting into the wind,' or ‘you are picking your head up.' It was hard for me to take a step back."
And as for his goal?
"To be the best golf program in the state of New Jersey," Preciado said.