golf pg 1 5-3-18

Category: Current Issue

caption, page 2:

Coach Rich Garceau, left, and Eli Child inspect a ball stuck behind a rake near a sand trap on the fourth hole at the Connecticut National Golf Club. Courtesy photo.

A golf win
a milestone
Woodstock Academy boys’ golf coach Rich Garceau reached a personal milestone last week.
The Northeast region National High School Coach of the Year in golf captured his 200th and 201st career victories when the Centaurs downed Montville, 6-1, and New London, 6-0, April 26 at the Norwich Golf Course.
“My goal every year is to have the young men that play golf at Woodstock Academy improve their game and grow as a person.  I guess I have helped kids improve their games if I managed to reach 200 wins.  The kids I have been blessed to coach generally come to me with a strong moral compass that has been taught to them by their families and community.  I have always hoped the kids learned life lessons from me and the game of golf, too,” said Garceau. “Whether it was my first win, which was against East Catholic, or my 200th it has been my joy to watch these kids amaze me, not only with their skill with a golf club, but their humility, honesty and all-around fortitude.  They have improved their own games and grown as young men.”
Every match can teach a lesson.
Garceau watched his No. 5 man, Owen Borski, struggle through a stretch of three holes last Thursday. But instead of giving up, Borski persevered and finished with a 51.
While that is a recent memory, there were others that Garceau said are still etched in his mind over his 13-plus years of coaching the sport.
“Several years ago, Greg Pike, my No. 1 player at the state tournament, had a good round going and then double hit his ball on the 18th green which cost him a penalty stroke.  No one saw it, but he turned to me and his opponent and called a penalty on himself.  I took a tremendous amount of pride in his honesty,” Garceau said.
There were also times when the team meant more than the individual.
Garceau remembered when Cody Semmelrock, playing in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament at the River Ridge Golf Course in Jewett City, chose to take a stance in a thorn bush to save a stroke for the team.
“As he swung his club the thorns all grabbed at his skin, opening several bloody wounds that left me cringing as he accepted the pain.  I took a tremendous amount of pride in his courage,” Garceau said. “It’s those memories of young men reaching inside of themselves and finding something that maybe they didn’t know they had; Fortitude to face their own struggles, the honesty of a true gentleman or facing the impending bite of a thorn to help their team to a tournament title.  Those are just three experiences but there are a host of other stories of so many Woodstock Academy kids that have moved and inspired me to keep at it.  I can say it has all meant a great deal to me to be there with all of those boys when they were growing into young men.”
The Centaurs are off to a 5-4 start, 1-2 in Division II of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
It was a bit of a trying week for the Centaurs, starting with a match against one of the best teams in the state, Killingly, as well as Norwich Free Academy and Putnam April 23 at the Connecticut National Golf Club.
It would be one thing to face the Redmen at full strength, it was another one entirely when the Centaurs top two players, Jack Gelhaus and Mason Stewart, were unavailable. Gelhaus suffered a soccer injury on the Sunday prior and Stewart was felled by an illness.
The Centaurs lost, 7-0, to Killingly, and 5-2 to the Wildcats while posting a 7-0 win over the Clippers.
“It was a tough loss to have two tremendous talents out of the lineup.  I was extremely proud of the boys that I asked to step up and step into roles that they haven’t been in before.  Eli Child moved from No. 3 position to the No. 1 during Jack’s injury recovery and Mason’s brief illness and he did his job.  Nick Zagrodney stepped up from the junior varsity squad to put up honorable scores too,” said Garceau.
Child shot a 39 in the match.
“I’m surprised,” Child said of his score. “I’ve never been here before. It’s something new, completely different from (Woodstock’s home course) Quinnatisset and I just wanted to come here on a nice day and play a good round.”
Gelhaus and Stewart returned for a match against Stonington last Tuesday, the first on their home course in Thompson, losing 4-3.
What made it more difficult was that the aggregate score was 187-188 and that one stroke cost the Centaurs two points and the win.
It was a very similar situation against East Lyme which downed the Centaurs, 5-2, but again was only better by a stroke, 176-177, April 25.
“This team has tremendous potential,” Garceau said. “They are working tremendously hard at improving their games.  They have played in the cold, wind and rain and have not complained once.  They are a resilient bunch.  The East Lyme and Stonington losses were disappointing but not at all disheartening because both of those schools have excellent teams this year so to lose by only 1 stroke to each shows our excellence.  Losing those two close matches seems to have made the team more determined to challenge any team we play. “
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director