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The Centaurs (Robert Maheu in the foreground with Mason Stewart next to him), warm up for the Division II state championship at the Fairview Farms Golf Club May 29. Photo by Rich Garceau

The boys’ golf season came to a close May 29 in Harwinton for The Woodstock Academy team.
The Centaurs finished ninth as a team in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Division II state championship at the Fairview Farms Golf Club with a 341 total.
Avon won the team title with a 293.
The Centaurs, actually, were happy to just to qualify after a very rough spring, spent, for the most part, inside the gym.
Centaurs coach Rich Garceau was concerned about the lack of practice time, but the team gradually came together.
It finished third in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament and qualified as the ninth seed for the 20-team Division II championship.
But the ninth-place finish was not what Garceau had expected after the team played a practice round on the Fairview Farms course.
The Centaurs had traveled to Harwinton last Monday and had posted a 318.
“Was I disappointed with the final outcome of a ninth-place finish? Yes.  However, I am never disappointed with the young men that golf for Woodstock Academy, because I know they worked hard this season and improved.  I know we left some shots out on the golf course that we all would like to have had back.  Could we have done better? Absolutely,” Garceau said.
Jack Gelhaus, toting around the team’s special bag, finished tied for eighth with a six-over par, 78.
It was the second consecutive top-10 finish for Gelhaus in the state tournament.
A couple of years ago, Garceau and his players were talking during a team meeting about how fortunate they were to be able to play golf on a high school team with their friends and enjoy life doing so.
“Every day we get complacent that our lives are easy and we can come to school and play golf and do all the other things we do with little to no fear because of others who are actively sacrificing their time and at times their lives for us to have those little pleasures in life,” Garceau said. “I wanted to do something to remind the golfers that someone is shouldering that burden for us so we can play a simple round of golf with friends after school.”
That someone are those who serve in the U.S. military.
Garceau recalled that in 2006, staff sergeant Joe Phaneuf, a resident of Eastford, was killed in the line of duty overseas.
Last year, the team honored his memory by purchasing a bag with a patriotic flair that was different than all the other Centaur bags.
“I wanted to remind the young men who play golf for Woodstock Academy every day of the sacrifice that SSG Phaneuf and so many others made so we can play golf with friends after school.  We chose the idea of the bag which we carry on our shoulder to show how our veterans and their families shoulder so much of the burden of freedom for us.  As a team we took turns shouldering the bag across our field in support of Joe and all of our veterans,” Garceau said.
Gelhaus carried that bag for the last event of the season.
Junior Mason Stewart added an 83 while Eli Child shot a 90 and Owen Borski finished with a 92 in the 18-hole event.
After losing Division II college recruit Dan Harrington and All-State performer Ryan Black to graduation and scoring a 190 in the season opening nine-hole event against Tourtellotte at the Raceway Golf Course, the team came a long way.
“I was really happy to see that the guys were not happy with that score (against Tourtellotte) either, regardless of the win, and their determination and motivation went up and their scores went down.  Tying for second in (ECC) Division (II) and finishing third at the ECC tournament was very pleasing and adding a top-10 seeding in a very competitive state division was a credit to the boys’ grit and determination,” Garceau said.
The Centaurs will lose Gelhaus and Child next season, but Garceau is optimistic.
 “Like last year when we lost a tremendous amount of talent only to have a more successful season this year, the boys that plan on returning seem very determined to do all the things to get better and make themselves a competitive team going forward,” Garceau said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director

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