Middle Country's Michael Miranda seeks third Suffolk golf crown
Michael Miranda has the skill to strike fear into the hearts of his competitors.
Last season, the Middle Country golfer became the first player to win consecutive Suffolk County individual championships, and went 12-0 in dual meet competitions.
"He's as close to perfect for a high school player as any coach could hope for," said Middle Country coach Don Matlock.
If the opposition wasn't scared already, it should consider this -- the senior could be even better in 2014.
"I've definitely improved my mental ability," said Miranda, who added this is where he's improved the most since beginning his varsity career as an eighth grader.
Already adept from a physical standpoint, with an equally strong short and power game, this mental edge could put Miranda over the top.
The three-time state tournament qualifier, who will be golfing at St. Thomas Aquinas next season, says he's learned "not to focus on the last shot," but rather to take things one swing at a time.
This approach has its origins in the 2012 county championships. "I didn't have my best stuff" that day, Miranda said. "I had to grind."
The approach worked, as he battled his way to the par-5 15th hole, where he eagled to clinch his first county title.
Matlock also says that while in past years Miranda "put too much pressure on himself" to carry the team, he is now just doing the best he can.
Team success has followed. Last season, Miranda helped Middle Country earn a share of the League II title for the first time since 1996, and though the team has since last four starters to graduation, Miranda and junior Andrew Frallicciardi should help keep the squad in contention.
As for its League II competition, defending co-champion Sachem East returns five of its six starters from last season, headlined by senior Jake Balkin.
In League I, defending champion Northport will be led by a quartet of returning starters, comprised of Sean Healy, Sal Tortora, James Caruana and Anthony Parziale.
In Nassau, Bellmore JFK will be looking to repeat as Conference I champions and returns leaders Troy Grubman, Josh Moskowitz and Tyler Weinstein.
Friends Academy and Syosset will contend in Conference II, while Wheatley will look to the trio of Michael Braunstein, Ben Goldbaum and Teddy Lewis as it vies for a fourth-straight Conference III crown.
Senior Ken Doyle will lead Chaminade's title defense in the CHSAA, and will look to fend off Chris Lambrou and Holy Trinity.