The Caesar Rodney Riders golf program has risen to elite status after capturing their third consecutive DIAA State Title this season. This feat makes them an easy choice for the Dover Post’s “Team of the Year” in high school golf.
The squad went 15-1 overall this season, combined over the last 3 seasons the Riders are a remarkable 45-1 in regular season play. Once again, the Riders also captured the Henlopen Conference Championship before winning the States by 18 strokes.
The Riders were led by seniors Samantha Leite and Joe Visalli who both finished within the top 10 in the State Tournament late last month. Over the last three seasons, both have helped the growth of the Rider program by leading the underclassmen in practice and by example on the greens.
The rest of the Rider team will likely return next season to defend their crown. And some have already shown they have the ability to step up and fill the shoes left behind by Leite and Visalli.
Jerome Mangubat and Matt Rosal both performed this season for the Riders and will likely make up the leadership core of the team next season. Like Leite and Visalli, both Mangubat and Rosal finished within the top 10 in last month’s State Tournament, Rosal finishing ninth, and Mangubat finishing fifth.
On the biggest stage in the state, both Mangubat and Rosal showed they belong. Along with a Conference Championship and All-State status, both are ready to take the next step in improving their games and keeping CR at the top.
“My main goal coming into the season was to win Conference and State individually,” said Rosal. “I won conference individually and we won as a team. States, however, was a bigger challenge.”
And while Rosal wasn’t thrilled with his ninth place finish in the states, he realized that accomplishing the overall team goal was what was most important.
“I fell a little short by finishing ninth, but I was satisfied because I made all-state,” said Rosal. “On the other hand, the team won a third consecutive state title which was the most important goal to me. “
With a winning attitude, many returning players and two standouts like Mangubat and Rosal to lead the way, it looks as if we may see a fourth consecutive State Championship in the Riders’ future.