It's one thing for a team to bring back a handful of its championship scorers in some sports, but in the case of golf, it puts the team on a completely different level. New Canaan High School's boys' golf team brings back each of its top five golfers from a year ago, meaning everybody who teed off in the Division II State Championship match returns with plenty of experience -- and skill.

Given the fact everyone is back, the Rams, winners of the D-II tourney for the second year in a row, would appear to be the favorite to again retain a stranglehold on the crown.

James Walsh and David Tensen were the only graduates from last year's squad. The top five scorers who return are senior captains Brian Tohir and C.J. Swift, along with seniors Patrick Hagerty and Alex Geanakos and junior Ben Katz. Tohir and Swift are returning All-FCIAC and All-State honorees.

The lineup also includes juniors Parker Dennis and Ryan Christie, senior Jack Piontkowski, sophomore Will Essigs and freshman Connor Miller.

More Information

Fact box

Although the Rams are the defending State Champs and have all of their scorers back on the course, the team is still looking up within the FCIAC.

"We're probably not the favorites in the FCIAC. Staples is going to be the favorite," said New Canaan coach Bill Brown, whose team placed third in the conference behind Staples and Greenwich. "We'll be competing with those two teams for the FCIAC championship."

Staples captured the D-I title, and Greenwich was third in D-I. Brown, whose team is coming off a 15-3 season, is optimistic that his team can challenge for the conference crown.

"We're looking forward to another good year," he said.

Of course it's been a slow go in the early going. The snowy winter and rainy spring have combined to keep the Rams off the course. The Country Club of New Canaan was not open for the scheduled season-opener against Trinity Catholic in early April and now, because of the postponement and the fact that spring break is built into the schedule, the Rams are not slated to compete until an April 26 match at Fairfield Warde.

"We're going to be behind the eight ball," said Brown, adding that the team's 15 matches will be jammed into a month-long period. "They're going to come fast and furious. We'll have to be ready to play."

In an effort to be prepared, the Rams have been practicing on temporary tees and greens, not getting the full distance experience for each swing. Brown said that some team members belong to other area courses which are open, enabling them to get some practice in.

As it stands now, assuming Mother Nature cooperates, the Rams will open the season with three matches in as many days, visiting Warde and Stamford on April 26 and 27, before hosting rival Darien the next day.

"We're very excited. Once we get going it will be great," Brown said.