Senior James Grachos didn’t have to settle for second best on Monday. A year removed from finishing second at the All-Catholic Golf Championship, the Nichols senior won the title by one-stroke at Harvest Hill.
His two-under 70 included birdies on Nos. 2, 6, 8 and 11 and bettered a field of 45. More importantly, it helped Nichols complete a sweep of its season-long goals of having the All-Catholic medalist, winning the Monsignor Martin Association regular season (12-0) and winning the Midwest Prep Classic.
“We’ve had a really great season and as a senior it’s been really cool to win this. Shooting well was just a bonus,” said Grachos, who led the Monsignor Martin in stroke average. “Normally my putting has been bringing me back. No three-putts today, and not a lot of three-putts all season.”
All six of Nichols’ golfers shot in the 70s, Grachos, Dean Arthur (72), Jake Ziegler (73), Gregory Sibick (74), Alex Fisher (78) and Ben Brason (79).
Nichols coach Ron Montesano said the play of Ziegler, a relative newcomer to the sport, has made a big difference.
“We really didn’t know who our sixth man was going to be and Jake kept grinding away and grinding away,” said Montesano. “He actually was co-medalist with Greg Sibick two weeks ago at the Midwest Prep Classic shooting a 150 for two rounds. Today, he comes out and shoots a 73 playing as our sixth man. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this.”
Senior Corey Cullen of St. Francis was runner-up with a 71. He said he lipped out a putt on his last hole that would have tied Grachos. “I eagled 6, made a long putt for a three. The back nine I just couldn’t make anything, but that’s fine. I made an eagle, so it’s not like I really had it coming to me.”
Scott Avery of Canisius and Arthur tied for third with 72s.
Healy leads EA soccer
The undefeated East Aurora boys soccer team continues to back up its No. 1 ranking in New York State in Class B.
The Blue Devils (11-0) shut out Nichols, 4-0, in one of four games played at Nichols as part of Super Monday. Parker Healy, one of the most dynamic players in the ECIC, had a hat trick, giving him 20 goals this season. “He penetrates, beats the defense with his moves and he’s great in the air,” said coach Kevin Beale.
Goalie Chris Norcia had the shutout thanks in part to Kyle Kleckner and Mike Franz, a pair of junior defenders starting at center/back for the first year. The Blue Devils’ defense has given up just one goal in 11 games. .
Austin Steck of Clarence scored the winner with an assist by Brian Eliason early in the second half, and the Red Devils hung on to edge Canisius, 2-1.
“They applied a ton of pressure at the end, the goal post was our friend,” said Clarence coach Mike Silverstein. “I thought our defense stood strong at the end and kept them off the board.”
Canisius opened the scoring 20 minutes into the game and Clarence answered four minutes later on a goal by Sam Wasson. The Red Devils move to 12-0.
Brendan Cryan and Gabriel Gomez-Chavez scored and Will Voerema earned the shutout as St. Joe’s blanked Akron, 2-0. Orchard Park and St. Francis played to a 0-0 overtime tie. Stellar in goal was Matthew Gabalski of the Red Raiders and Brian Arcara of OP.