You might think expectations would be pretty high for the New Canaan girls golf program.
The Rams have won the FCIAC championship each of the last two seasons, then went on to win the CIAC girls state championship meet. With three key starters returning, a three-peat is within reach
But when you face the rigors of the FCIAC often during the regular season, there is no such thing as a guarantee. Head coach Priscilla Schulz knows better than to put championship or bust as the primary goal.
“We don’t put those expectations on the girls whatsoever,” Schulz said. “Every year is brand new. The entire team makeup is different. You never know what the team will do. Winning those two state and FCIAC championships was a total surprise to me. I never expected that.”
The Rams have the strength at the top with their two senior co-captains, Morgan Hibbert and Megan Mitchell. Hibbert was the medalist at the inaugural State Open last season while Mitchell was the medalist at the FCIAC championship meet.
Throw in sophomore Julie Bazata, coming off an impressive freshman season, which included a tie for ninth in the state meet. and New Canaan is a bonafide contender. But it will be the Rams’ complete depth if a championship is to be had.
Thus far, the group has come up well, winning its first six matches.
Morgan and Megan put more expectations on themselves,” Schulz said. “In this league, you need to have five girls be able to score. There are so many good teams. In the match against Greenwich, luckily, we were home (at CC of New Canaan) and were able to pull it out (won by five strokes).”
Including Bazata, Schultz starts three underclassmen. Another freshman usually plays in the No. 7 position so she can gain varsity experience.
Schultz noted that New Canaan has yet to even qualify for the FCIAC tournament — the top five teams make it. The FCIACs return to Fairchild Wheeler GC in Bridgeport May 30. The CIAC tournament returns to Tashua Knolls GC in Trumbull on June 4.
Its those postseason events that move to an 18-hole format after playing nine holes throughout the regular season.
34 and counting
Wilbur Cross has been able to take a road trip during its April vacation each of the last 34 years out of state.
It used to be a drive to either Warwick, Rhode island or Newark, New Jersey. But for the last 26 seasons, including last month, the Governors have been able to board an airplane and head for the Sunshine State.
Cross faced Gateway (Fla.) at Royal St. Cloud Golf Links in St. Cloud, Florida, winning the match. Coach Joe Steele noted that this was the first time any of his players had been on the trip.
“As it was in 1985, all the members of the team had never played golf before,” said Steele, in his 42nd season as head coach. “Moreover, for some players, it was their first time on an airplane and for others, it was their first visit to Florida. The members of the golf team thoroughly enjoyed their time in Florida and regaled in the new experiences that the state had to offer.”
The match didn’t count toward the CIAC schedule, but it really didn’t matter to Kyle Sundland, Elijah Cherry, Hose Rivera and Simon Medina Pinango, who all helped the Governors defeat Gateway in a nine-hole match.