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The Woodstock Academy girls’ golf team proudly displays the ECC girls’ golf tournament championship plaque after its victory May 30. Photo by Marc Allard.

Girls  take
1st in golf
It was a scene that Woodstock Academy coach Earl Semmelrock was very familiar with.
Senior Katherine Harrington struggled on the first hole of the ECC girls’ golf championship May 30 at the Quinnatisset Country Club.
“She’s done that time and time again where I look at her and think she’s blowing up and going the wrong way and she just puts her nose down, digs in and comes back with a competitive score,” said Woodstock Academy coach Earl Semmelrock.
Harrington finished with a quadruple-bogey on the first hole of the championship.
She needed only 39 strokes to complete the remaining eight holes and finished tied with teammate Linda St. Laurent with a 47 for third individually.
The two led Woodstock Academy to a 192-203 win over Norwich Free Academy. Bacon Academy finished third with a 217 and E. Lyme was fourth just four strokes back of the Bobcats.
It was the sixth championship for Woodstock Academy in the nine-year existence of the ECC girls’ golf championship.
It did mean the Centaurs reclaimed the title, however.
Waterford ended a three-year Woodstock Academy stranglehold on the championship cup last year.
“It was huge,” Harrington said of the team victory. “This was definitely the team to get it done. We have been doing our best this year, pushing really hard to get to this point. We’re all just so happy right now.”
Harrington admitted that the first hole tested her confidence. “I was really worried,” she said.
Harrington had a poor drive off the tee and put her second shot into the sand. She got out of the bunker into the fairway but flew the green on her chip. She chipped on to the green but put a 10-foot putt 15 feet past the hole on the other side and missed the come-backer.
“It can be really hard to come back because golf is very much a mental game. You have to shake it off and think, ‘Alright, that’s one hole, I got this many more to go and this is what I need to fix it,’” Harrington said. “It can be hard, but as long as you keep that mental state of calm, try to do your best and not worry about the score, it’s OK.”
Harrington followed up that disastrous first hole with a less than desirable drive on the second hole which almost ended up in the water.
Fortunately, she found the ball, chipped back into the fairway and her confidence began to return.
“It was smooth sailing from there,” Harrington said. “My swing was getting better, the shots were getting better and my confidence got a boost with the better shots. It was awesome to come back. I had a really good day.”
St. Laurent had a run of three consecutive 43s going until the Centaurs played at the Norwich Golf Course on Tuesday where she shot a 54 in a 207-230 win that gave the Centaurs a final regular season record of 11-4.
There was to be no 43 again May 30.
St. Laurent said her Waterloo was the sixth hole where she hooked her drive into the woods and was forced to take a drop.
“I kind of recovered. My putting really helped me. I thought that went very well,” St. Laurent said. “Everything was just kind of all over the place, there wasn’t one thing that I did wrong per se. I would hit a shot and it just wouldn’t go anywhere. I was just all over the place.”
The two really didn’t have a shot at a first-place finish.
Waterford’s Caroline Petchark, playing as an individual since the Lancers did not field a girls’ team this season, set an ECC girls tournament record with a 3-under par, 33. Petchark did not have a bogey and birdied the fourth, eighth and ninth holes.
“That is insane,” Harrington said of the score posted by Petchark. “I have never seen that before. Even like my brother, or the boys I see play or people in college. I don’t see them doing that. That is incredible to me and really, congratulations to her, she did so well.”
Petchark won the tournament by 11 strokes over Stonington’s Liz Crandall.
Kailey LaChappelle shot a 48 for the Centaurs with Alex Vaida adding a 50.
Avery Jones added a 52.
“It wasn’t bad,” Semmelrock said of the 192 total. “It wasn’t our best of the year, but it was very good based on the conditions (the weather was cloudy and chilly and the course was soggy after some overnight rain). What I’m most proud of is that we had four other scores, that would have competed (for a team victory) and we didn’t count them. The girls are really responding, everyone is digging in and trying their best. It’s all I can ask for.”
It was the fourth ECC tournament championship for a Woodstock Academy girls’ program in the 2018-19 school year. The Centaurs also captured the soccer, volleyball and lacrosse tournament titles.
The year for the Centaurs is not over.
They had a date in the State Open championship in Trumbull June 4. The event ended too late for this edition.
It was a first time ever for the program, as a whole, to take part in the State Open.
It also required that the girls do something they weren’t very familiar with.
They had to compete in an 18-hole tournament.
“It’s a big deal. The girls really don’t play 18,” Semmelrock said. “We will see how they handle it. I think they will do just fine. It’s a mental grind. Nine holes is over rather fast, 18 holes can be a lot more of a challenge especially when you throw that many more opportunities for poor holes in the way and your mind starts spinning. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think they’re up for it and we will see how they handle it on Tuesday.”
 “None of the girls have ever seen the course before. I’ve been on it a number of times over the years. It’s always in fine condition. I’m looking forward to getting out there. I think it’s a score-able course,” Semmelrock said.
Jones shot a personal-best 48 at the Norwich Golf Course on a wet afternoon and led Woodstock Academy to the win over Norwich Free Academy in their final regular season match May 28.
Harrington, playing in her final regular season match, shot a 50 and LaChappelle added a 51 for the Centaurs in the win over the Wildcats.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy



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