The Woodstock Academy boys’ golf team is winning
But there is still a long way to go.
“Right now swing tempo and putting are hurting our scores from the top to bottom of our lineup and the only way to improve those two areas is to spend time practicing and drilling those skills,” said Woodstock Academy coach Rich Garceau.
And a short time to get there.
As the season moves into the second week of May, there are only three more weeks of competition left and that is chock full of matches.
The Centaurs will likely get in only two days of practice in each of the next two weeks and maybe three in the following week provided the weather doesn’t interfere.
The damage, however, may already have been done.
“It has been extremely frustrating because once the weather cleared and the courses in northern Connecticut began opening we were already into our season schedule, so most of our time is jumping on busses and playing matches and not getting into skills developmental practice.  We have effectively only had two practice sessions at our home course this season,” Garceau said.
The Centaurs raised their record to 9-4 overall and 3-2 in Division II of the Eastern Connecticut Conference with two wins over Bacon Academy, 6-1 and 6 ½ - 0; a 6 ½- ½ win over Norwich Free Academy and a 6-1 victory against Waterford.
The win over NFA was especially satisfying since the Wildcats handed the Centaurs a 5-2 loss at Quinnatisset earlier in the season. The match was a lot closer than it the final sounded as the Centaurs finished just three strokes behind NFA even without their top two players, Jack Gelhaus and Mason Stewart, available.
Plus, a coach can never complain when his team posts a win over the Wildcats.
“Last season the NFA team ended a long-winning streak that Killingly was running.  Bill Howard and Bob McPhail before him have done an excellent job with that program over the years,” Garceau said.  “Winning that match and coming close two weeks ago without Mason and Jack was a boost to our confidence that we can play with the best teams in our league and something to be proud of.”
Only one player, Gelhaus, has broken the 40-stroke barrier so far this season and Gelhaus has only done that once in the seven times the Centaurs have been out on the course. Gelhaus shot a 38 in the home match against Bacon Academy May 1.
“We need to have more consistent scores in the high 30s to low 40s to realistically compete for any title in the ECC and certainly once we arrive at the state tournament site in June,” Garceau said.
Gelhaus currently sports an average of just over 41 while Eli Child is at 44 and Stewart at 45.6.
Girls’ Golf
Coach Earl Semmelrock knew the loss of Roxanne Garceau was going to impact the team and knew it would be difficult to replace her in the No. 1 slot.
The Centaurs are finding out just how difficult it is.
Woodstock Academy came into the new week with a 3-4 record.
It downed Suffield at home April 30 because Suffield only had three golfers available. Suffield exacted a little revenge May 1 on their home course as it and Canton downed the Centaurs.
Woodstock Academy concluded the week with their first loss to an Eastern Connecticut Conference team since 2014. Waterford just got past The Academy, 200-202, May 3 at the Quinnatisset Country Club.
“I fully expected it,” Semmelrock said of the below .500 mark and the ECC loss. “You can’t replace Division-I talent .The other teams in the league are showing improvement as well. Finally having the chance to have a few practices, I have seen a little more consistency out of some of the girls. It really is what they need to improve. The good news is that some of the new girls that had no exposure to the game are making tremendous strides in their play and understanding of the game.”
Semmelrock pointed out sophomore Avery Jones and freshmen Kailey LaChappelle and Alex Vaida who had never played competitive golf before this season.
LaChappelle almost broke 50 in the loss to Waterford.
Two other players who played well in that match were Katherine Harrington and Caitlin Cannon, both of whom carded a season-best 50.
The only player to break 50 thus far has been Caroline Eaton who shot a 46 in the 207-250 win over Suffield April 30.
“Any time you get a low score from any one on the team it gives you a head start towards a good team score. Caroline struggled a little this week but both she and I know she is capable of scoring in the mid to low 40s every round. Between the weather and the fact that both Caroline and Katherine were on the school trip to Spain, they have each had only one practice round and one range session under good weather (and course) conditions,” Semmelrock said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director


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