Success pg 10 6-13-19

Success: Golf team finishes
better than
The Centaurs boys’ golf team could have been a little happier following its outing at the Division II golf state championship tournament last week.
“I talked to the guys and I thought we could have done a little better,” said Woodstock Academy coach Rich Garceau.
Still, the Centaurs did reach their basic goal that Garceau puts before them every time the team qualifies for a tournament.
Finish better than the team is seeded.
The Centaurs accomplished that.
They were seeded 16th and finished in a tie for 13th with a 361 total.
“Some years, you realistically have a chance to vie for a title. In others, that’s relatively unrealistic as a team,” Garceau said.
Senior Mason Stewart was coming off a tie for medalist honors in the ECC boys; Open golf championship the week before.
He had the round of his life, in his words, with a 75.
Those are not commonplace events and Stewart, betrayed by his putter, fell back to a 19-over par 90.
“It’s tough to do that back-to-back,” Garceau said. “I think he’s worked very hard, to some degree, to prove to himself that he is better than he was four years ago. I think he put a lot of that pressure on himself. He wanted to go out on a high note and with young golfers, when they put that pressure on themselves internally, it’s hard to just relax, go out, and play a round of golf.”
The pressure and expectations, from outside and from within, grew after that low score.
“I think Mason realized that he has the ability to score. He did win a Junior PGA tour event last year and lost in a playoff in another. I think he knows he has game, has the ability and he wanted to prove it at the state level, but, unfortunately, it didn’t come quite together,” Garceau said.
Fellow senior Owen Borski, on the other hand, had a pretty good day.
Garceau just happened to be in the right place at the right time on two occasions and saw Borski drop a 40-foot-plus putt and another from over 20-feet.
“One end of the green to the other and they were perfect. If they had missed, they probably would have stopped a few inches from the hole, but they just dropped. He was having a lot of fun,” Garceau said.
Borski led the team with an 86.
“Owen is one of those kids, like Mason, who was not the strongest golfer as a freshman but through their own determination and perseverance, he has got a lot better, too,” Garceau said. “He hasn’t put up the numbers that Mason did but to see him go out on a high note and score well in an 18-hole match and have some phenomenal putts, I was really happy for him.”
Out of 102 golfers, Borski tied for 32nd while Stewart was 53rd. Fellow senior Robert Maheu (91) tied for 59th and Jake Starr (94) tied for 72nd.
Senior Liam McDermott finished 93rd.
It was the last match for Stewart, Borski, Maheu and McDermott.
“We talked a little about the last four years on the way out and it’s kind of sad to see the guys go. I was a little disappointed they didn’t go out on a better note, but they all had a good time,” Garceau said.
Despite the fact that he is losing four seniors, Garceau is pretty buoyed about the prospect for his 2020 version of the Centaurs.
“I reminded the guys who are coming back that there is always that one guy who seems to step up. Jack Gelhaus did so a couple of years ago, Mason stepped up this year. I expect someone to step up, maybe five guys will step up next year,” the Woodstock Academy coach said. “I’m more excited for next season, this early, than I have been in years.”
That’s because Garceau said the early struggles, mostly due to weather, meant his team got off to a slow start. But his junior varsity, in the last couple of weeks, has come on strong and is ready to step out from the shadows.
“The last couple of weeks, we’ve had some varsity-level scores from the JV kids,” Garceau said.
“I think that next year could be a breakout year for us. I’m going to miss these kids, but I’m pretty excited about what we have next year.”
Woodstock Academy will also be moving back into Div. I in the ECC.
Some may cringe at that. Garceau does not since most of his success has come in the ECC’s top division which Woodstock Academy drifts in and out of.
The Centaurs played in Div. II this year and get to avoid battling the likes of Killingly and Stonington, and even East Lyme which is dropping to Division II, next year in the battle for a division championship. The Centaurs will be paired with Norwich Free Academy, New London and Fitch in 2020.
“I told the guys that there is an opportunity for us to grab an ECC title next year. It’s all in their hands; how much they want it, how hard they want to work for it, and if they get out in there in the summer and play,” Garceau said.
Much to his surprise, several of his younger golfers have become junior members at Quinnatisset Country Club in Thompson, the team’s home course, and he’s hoping they take advantage of it to play in the offseason.
“The kids that get out and play, get it done, good things happen,” Garceau said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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