both pg 3 5-18-23

Senior Maya Orbegozo (in the hat) putts while teammate Sophie Gronski watches. Photo by Marc Allard.

The Woodstock Academy boys’ and girls’ golf teams are nearing the end of the season.
But there is still plenty to play for.
Namely, qualifying for the state tournament.
“I’m confident. I checked the standings and we have moved up two spots (in the last week) in the States. We’re still on the borderline of qualifying but we’re inside of it and if we can put good scores in for our last four remaining matches, I think we will end up in a good place and qualify,” said girls’ coach Earl Semmelrock.
The Centaurs boys are in the same boat.
On the cusp, inside the line, but needing some good efforts to finish the season.
“It’s not the win-loss record, it’s the scoring average that matters when you’re talking about getting into the state tournament,” said boys’ golf coach Rich Garceau. “We are 15th and 17 teams make it but our differential is seven strokes right now over the 17th team. We haven’t got to the point where we can throw out a score, like other schools already have. We can start doing that in our second match (this) week; we will be able to throw out the 202 that we put up at Shennecossett (Golf Club in Groton) in our first match. I think we’re OK, but we need to post a few more good scores.”
The Centaurs girls opened last week with a 212-228 win over East Lyme.
The win improved Woodstock’s record to 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the ECC.
Senior Maya Orbegozo led the Centaurs, as she has almost all season long, with a 44.
“She has been very consistent but, sometimes, she gets down on herself when it’s not going right. We’re working on the mental game,” Semmelrock said.
Sophomore Liliana Bottone has also been very consistent this year, shooting generally between 50 and 55.
Such was the case against East Lyme as she posted a 54.
“She’s been very steady. She’s improving. She’s hitting many more good shots, she just has to stay away from a few of the poorer ones. Her ball-striking is better, her shots are improving and she’s been really consistent in that 50-55 range. I think when she posts her first really good score, the floodgates might open,” Semmelrock said.
Ella Musumeci carded a 55 against the Vikings.
The Centaurs traveled to one of their least favorite courses, the Norwich Golf Course, for the girls Wildcat Invitational as well last week.
“It’s very different (from Quinnatisset). The greens are way smaller, the fairways aren’t as nice as Quinnatisset. It’s really just target golf. You put it on the green or you are in a bunker or a divot,” Orbegozo said.
Still, the Centaurs finished second, eight strokes back, 227-235, of host Norwich Free Academy.
Orbegozo carded a 53, good enough to tie NFA’s Madeline Smith for second, three strokes back of the medalist, NFA freshman Caroline Goderre.
That happened despite some difficulties on the bookends, the first and ninth holes.
“I was pretty happy with (her performance) at the end, but throughout the round I definitely had some holes where I was pretty disappointed. That’s the beauty of golf. You have some good shots and some bad shots. It’s really about staying mentally in it especially after the first hole,” Orbegozo said. “I just decided to play it hole-by-hole, shot-by-shot.”
Bottone finished fourth overall with a 55.
The nice thing with just a two-match week, there was time for practice for the Centaurs.
“We haven’t had much practice and that’s crazy to say because we’re almost at the end of the season but we’ve had match after match. It’s going to be good to get some work in at Quinny, have some matches here (four of their final six take place at home) and really see that consistency especially since Connecticut National (where two other matches will be played) is similar to Quinny. I’m hoping to see the scores go down because I know the seniors Ella and Shannon (Cunniff) and me, really want to make the States and our underclassmen are helping us to get there,” Orbegozo said.
The boys started the week with the Wildcat Invitational. Unlike the girls, who played nine holes, the boys played 18.
It’s one of the three tournaments all year that go the distance.
The ECC championship will also be 18 holes as will the state tournaments.
“The guys really aren’t used to it,” Garceau said. “It’s a rare thing, especially for the younger kids, to play 18 holes of golf. I had a few freshmen with me and the 18 holes of golf is a completely different mental game. You have to stay within yourself and Aidan O’Connor did a really good job of that as a freshman. He started out rough, pulled it together, and finished strong.”
The Centaurs finished tied for eighth with Stonington.
Don Sousa led Woodstock with an 84 while both Davis Simpson and Logan Rawson posted an 88. “I think we did well,” Garceau said. “Stonington has a really great team this year. We were close with NFA. We had a few stumbles, a couple of ‘blow-up’ holes and if it weren’t for those, we could have been a lot better off.”
The Centaurs returned on the following day at Quinnatisset for a match with Fitch.
“After playing 18 holes, they were tired when we got home, it was also breezy at Norwich. We came back against Fitch and played well. I had a couple of freshmen in the mix and Aidan shot a 44 which was fantastic,” Garceau said.
Simpson’s three-over par 39 led Woodstock (4-5 overall, 2-3 ECC  Div. I) to a 7-0 win over the Falcons.
Logan Rawson was a stroke back followed by O’Connor and Don Sousa who posted a 45.
It was the only other match of the week and meant the Centaurs had time to practice.
For a change.
“It’s fantastic, Garceau said. “When it’s match-after-match, it’s sometimes hard to maintain your focus when you know there are things that you have to work on but you’re looking for a score. Practice is great because we can focus on the fundamental skills that we noticed at the Wildcat were not working, primarily around the greens. Not putting, but getting on to the greens, which caused us the problem. We can take a deep breath, relax a little, have a little bit of fun and work on the fundamentals.”
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy

on the 12th hole at the Wildcat Invitational at the Norwich Golf Course last week.

tees off.
 on the sixth hole at the Wildcat Invitational last week


Senior Maya Orbegozo tees off on the second hole
 recently in a match at the Quinnatisset Country Club.

 on the third hole of a match recently at the Quinnatisset Country Club.
Photos by Marc Allard.


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