Stafford High School golf team tees off
By Kathryn Elliott - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., Apr. 21, 2011
The greens are ready at Quaboag Country Club in Monson, Mass.– and the Stafford High School Bulldogs are hitting the links. Beginning as an after-school club, the golf team has evolved into a valued part of the SHS athletic program.
Stressing the importance of teamwork, coach Gary Shearer values each individual player equally. “We have no stars on this team,” he said. “Each golfer has their strengths and weaknesses and contributes to the team’s success as a whole.”
Returning after a 2-16 season in 2010, the team began practice as soon as the weather would cooperate. “We got off to a very slow start last year,” Shearer said. “We need to be competitive from the start, though the weather is not helping that this year.”
The Bulldogs began the season with difficult matches against Ellington, Enfield and Windsor Locks. Playing nine holes per match, Shearer approaches each team with the same focus. “Eleven of 12 NCCC teams made the tournament last year and everyone is tough. This year, we are taking one match at a time. Our goal is to shoot 180. Like all golfers, we need to improve our scores, that’s the biggest area we need improvement.”
Senior Stefanie Szepanski was sidelined due to illness in a recent match with Windsor Locks. “Stefanie is an exceptional young person,” Shearer said. “She is the only girl in this league and plays extremely smart.”
Shearer’s goal for the Bulldogs centers on building a team-oriented approach to a more individualized sport. “We depend on our veterans for leadership, and we have a few young players who will contribute,” the coach said. “This is a good group of kids; we just need to be consistent.”
A complete schedule can be found at www.casciac.org.
Stafford High School Golf Team Head Coach Gary Shearer
Number of seasons with this team: 3
Seniors: Stefanie Szepanski, Blake Hatch and Tyler Blanchard
Captain: Beau Weed
Goal for the season: “The team’s overall goal this season is to qualify for the Division IV state tournament,” Shearer said.
Upcoming Match: May 2 vs. Canton at home (Quaboag)
Stefanie Szepanski – Senior: Third-year player Szepanski is the number one-seed for SHS. “I love the mentality of golf,” she said. “It is important to think through each shot and play things in the right order so that everything lines up right.” She is planning on attending the University of Hartford with a major in communications.
Beau Weed – Junior: The team’s number two-seed, Weed has been playing golf since the sixth grade. “I like the competitive part of golf,” he said. From a family of golfers, Weed also competes in football and basketball.