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This year’s Woodstock Academy girls’ golf team became the first, as a team, to qualify for the girls’ state tournament which takes place on June 4 in Trumbull. Photo by Joel Tretheway/The Woodstock Academy.


Team qualifies
for States
The Woodstock Academy girls’ golf program got some really good news May 24.
Barring some unforeseen circumstance, their 188-224 win over Norwich Free Academy May 23 at the Quinnatisset Country Club likely qualified them for the girls’ state tournament.
It’s the first time ever the Centaurs, as a team, have qualified for the tournament.
“A few weeks ago, we didn’t it was possible,” said Woodstock Academy coach Earl Semmelrock. “We always put it up as a goal because you have to make goals. It shows that even when we had Roxanne (Garceau), who made (the state tournament) as an individual that you can’t do it alone. You need four decent scores to make that happen.”
The Centaurs (10-4) have started to see that.
“Everyone is contributing. I think we have had seven girls who posted scores that helped in a varsity match somewhere,” Semmelrock said.
Junior Linda St. Laurent has become the leader of the team on the scoreboard.
St. Laurent turned in her third consecutive seven-over-par 43 in the win over the Wildcats.
“She hasn’t played much competitive golf,” Semmelrock said. “This is just her third year of playing nine holes of high school golf and then, she doesn’t play much. She has the potential to be really good if she just puts her mind to it.”
Semmelrock said St. Laurent has a goal to play soccer in college but he thinks she should not pass on playing golf at the next level.
“She’s posting scores that will get her some looks,” Semmelrock said.
Ask St. Laurent what has changed and she’s a bit flummoxed herself.
“I’m feeling pretty good but, honestly, I don’t know what’s going on,” the junior said.
Semmelrock did suggest an adjustment that has helped St. Laurent.
She has shortened her swing with her driver.
St. Laurent was battling a slice off the tee early this season.
“She had a big, loopy swing like John Daly so I corrected it. I had her cut it down to a more controllable swing and she still hits the ball farther than most girls and can get around the course like that,” Semmelrock said. “She’s starting to become a complete player by figuring out the speed of her putts, eliminating three and four putts and making some birdies along the way.”
The Woodstock Academy coach said St. Laurent has the capability of shooting even lower.
She triple-bogeyed the first hole she played in one of those 43 efforts and had a pair of double bogeys in another.
“She’s shooting 43 in a myriad of different ways. When everything comes together on one day and she eliminates those mistakes, you can see the potential to shoot in the 30s or even par,” Semmelrock said.
St. Laurent said the team came together as a whole against NFA.
She played alongside senior Katherine Harrington, who was celebrating her final regular season match as a member of the Centaurs, and shot a 46.
Kailey LaChappelle brought in a strong performance as well with a 47. Ciara McKinnon, the Centaurs’ fifth player, then carded a 52 to bring the score down to 188.
It’s the first time Woodstock Academy scored under 190 this season and it was important.
It reduced the team’s average to 68.6 and moved them past Conard in the rankings into the 20th spot.
The top 20 teams qualify for the state tournament and Conard can’t get past Woodstock Academy as its season is over.
“It’s pretty cool,” Semmelrock said. “I’m not excited about a 2 ½ hour bus trip. We have to be there at 7:30 in the morning just outside of New York City.”
The state tournament will be played on Tuesday, June 4 at Tashua Knolls Golf Club in Trumbull.
Prior to that, the Centaurs finished up the regular season with a rematch with the Wildcats May 28 at the Norwich Golf Course. The match ended too late for this edition.
The Centaurs then host the ECC championship tournament May 30 at Quinnatisset.
The Centaurs have beaten each ECC team twice each this season and are looking to recapture the trophy that Waterford took away last season. The Lancers will have Caroline Petchark in the field, likely the individual favorite to win the event, but do not have a complete girls team this year leaving just East Lyme, NFA and Bacon Academy to challenge Woodstock Academy.
“I feel like we have to be a little concerned about being overconfident. We’ve shot such low numbers that it’s getting into our head. I know some players are thinking they have to shoot in the 40s and that just throws you off your game,” St. Laurent said.
But there is a factor beyond just winning matches or making the state tournament that has motivated St. Laurent.
“I’m trying to prove to coach, because he doesn’t know if he wants to come back next year, that we really want him back,” St. Laurent said.
Semmelrock admits that he has considered retirement.
“I’ve told them that my level of commitment is going to be directly related to theirs. If they show me they’re committed and want to get better, then it’s a good chance that I will be back,” Semmelrock said.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy

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