2019 girls golf season preview

Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 4/27/2019

2019 Preview: New and returning faces could make for strong season


Golf in the spring is never easy.


The Woodstock Academy Centaurs boys and girls golf teams got their first taste of the outdoors on March 19.


When they will be able to set foot on a golf course is another story.


“It’s spring in New England so we have to deal with what we have,” said Centaurs girls coach Earl Semmelrock standing on the Woodstock Academy Commons watching his team practice shooting balls into a bucket on a blustery and chilly March afternoon.


Snow still lined the ground behind his players.


Fortunately, it wasn’t feet deep and there was a lot of dormant grass to be seen.


“We’re cautiously optimistic that, because there is only a little bit of snow on the ground that we will have an early opening,” Semmelrock said. “Typically our home course (Quinnatisset Country Club) doesn’t open until the middle to end of April. Maybe that can be sped up, but the good news is that most of our matches in April are away from our home course and the courses along the shoreline in East Lyme and Norwich will likely be open. We just may be at a deficit if we don’t get much time on the course.”


The Centaurs girls had a bigger than anticipated turnout.


Semmelrock looked over the Commons and saw 22 girls working on their chipping.


“I’m really excited. I wasn’t expecting this many girls to come out,” senior captain Katherine Harrington said. “We’ve got a lot of returners but some new faces too and some promising new faces. I think we have a really good chance at being a competitive team this year.”


Semmelrock said the turnout, if it continues, may mean the team will have to make cuts, and while that prospect is never looked forward to, it does show an interest in the program.


The Centaurs finished second in the ECC last year with a 6-2 league record, second to Waterford’s 8-0 mark. The Lancers will not field a girls team this season. The Centaurs finished with a 10-7 overall mark.


Gone from that team are Caroline Eaton and Caitlin Cannon.


Harrington is one of the anomalies for Semmelrock who enters his sixth year as head coach of the program – a four-year player.


“Her attendance is impeccable, she strives to get better all the time, and she’s a leader,” Semmelrock said of Harrington.


“It takes a couple of weeks to get in shape,” Harrington said. “Over the winter, I try to get out there and keep my swing together, but it’s going to take a couple of weeks, a little transition, some practice, by the time we get to the course, we’re usually ready to go.”


Harrington said her goal is to win the ECC individual title, get her average to around 50 per nine-hole match and get someone from the team to qualify for state competition.


Off the course, Harrington has other hopes.


“I want to get really close to the team, be a good captain, and get to know all my teammates,” she said.


The Centaurs also return ECC All-Star Kailey LaChappelle.


The sophomore finished third in the ECC championship match last season with a 45 to earn All-Star status.


Juniors Linda St. Laurent, who shot a 50 in the ECC championship, and Avery Jones (54) also return.


Newcomers include Olivia Ott, Ciara MacKinnon, Rachel Roberts, and Maria Santucci.


“We want to win the ECC, which should be attainable, we only lost last year by (5 strokes). I would love to see an individual, if not the whole team, qualify for states. We’ve been knocking on the door for a number of years and just can’t seem to bust it down. Maybe this will be the year,” Semmelrock said.