GHS golfers Connor Goode and Charlie Dolan with the 12th Man Group. (l-r) Cole Cummings, Goode, Elliot Hamilton, Dolan, Mickey Shae, Luke Burns, Kayden Hinchey
The move to fall yielded championship results for the GHS boys’ golf team.
The Guardians finished the regular season undefeated (14-0), captured the conference title, and then senior Connor Goode put an exclamation point on the season by winning the Division I golf championship at the Chippanee Country Club in Bristol on Monday.
Overall at the state finals the Guardians finished as a runner up, shooting a (+34), placing behind champion New Canaan (+32).
Goode’s individual championship performance was an even-par 70, winning the championship by three strokes.
Charlie Dolan tied for 7th at the state finals, shooting a (+8) 78, Nick DiNino and Gavin Kvadus both tied for 23rd, and Nick Anderson tied for 49th.
“It’s probably the strongest group that I’ve ever had. To have five starters playing tremendous golf with the scores they have had, I don’t think we’ve ever had that,” said head coach Tom Zelek. “I’ve had a lot of good groups, but this is a pretty amazing group. They play in the summer time in tournaments and that makes a difference, because they are playing those 18-hole tournaments.”
Prior to the championship finale, the team teed off at Glastonbury Hills Country Club for the final time last Tuesday, defeating Berlin (154-163).
For the seniors it was the last time competing on the course they have called home for the past four years.
Conditions for the home finale were ideal as the autumn weather was perfect with the fall foliage peeking through.
Even a handful of GHS student showed up waving the infamous Glastonbury’s 12th Man Flag to support the golfers.
“It’s was cool and sad a little bit being our last go-around,” said Goode, who finished as the match medalist. “I feel like we were cut short a little bit by COVID and the season ended a lot sooner than we thought, but it was fun to wrap up my senior season as a golfer at Glastonbury Hills. I’ve played here my whole life, so having the 12th man out here to celebrate was pretty cool.”
Dolan finished one stroke behind after sinking a clutch put on the final hole, “It felt good, we both played pretty good. We were both on the team freshman year, so after four years it was a nice way to end.”
It was a unique season for the program, as it marked the first time playing in the fall after years of competing in the spring.
Many of the state’s golf teams made the switch this year, which turned out to be a great move, both weather-wise and from a competition standpoint.
Zelek credited the switch as one of the reasons for the team’s success, “Our first match of the year was our lowest score all year, and that’s amazing. I think it made a tremendous difference. The kids agree, every coach I’ve talk to agrees. More kids were able to try out, and the weather and course conditions were great.”
Dolan echoed his coach, “I think golf in the fall is definitely better. We came out fresh after summer tournaments and we were playing prime golf. In the spring it’s a lot colder, we’re wearing pants and pullovers. The fall is just better for golf.”
In the spring, the team finished 3rd in the Division I Championships. Goode had finished tied for 2nd and Dolan tied for 9th individually.
They both said the healthy competition in practice and during meets drove them to be better.
“There’s always a competition within ourselves. Having that competition and those players behind you to push you definitely helps,” said Goode. “We were disappointed with our state’s performance last spring, so we came in with a chip on our shoulder and wanted to win it this year.”
Four months later, Goode redeemed himself with a state championship.
Zelek said his co-captains were consistent all season, adding, “Connor has always been confident and comfortable on the course and there’s been improvement every year. And if I was going to give an award for the most improved player, Charlie has certainly risen to the top. He pushes Connor all the time.”
Prior to states, the group took take of business by dominating the conference finals, winning the CCC by 17 strokes. Goode and Dolan tied for 2nd overall, each shooting a 72 at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain. DiNino placed 4th, shooting a 75, and sophomore Gavin Kvadus finished 7th, shooting a 76. Nick Anderson rounded out the scoring for the Guardians.
Zelek added that coaching this group was a pleasure, “They are great kids on and off the course. I have the easiest job. Being able to coach on a course is relatively new, but on the course there isn’t a lot I have to point out because they are doing all the right things.”
Goode, who has committed to play golf at the University on Connecticut, said the bond between the team extend off the course.
“Even outside of the high school season we are playing together during the summer and we’ve become really good friends. We’ve become a close-knit group which, helps the team play a lot better, and we’re always supporting each other,” said Goode. “It’s been really fun, but it has also felt like it’s gone by really fast.”
Dolan added, “It was a short season. We’re definitely going to miss it, but it was a fun year.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin