MHS girls' golf team has its best season yet

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., May. 19, 2011
Manchester High School freshmen Chelsey Tinson angles her putt for the final hole for the girls' golf team's match against Newington. Photos by Martha Marteney.
Manchester High School freshmen Chelsey Tinson angles her putt for the final hole for the girls' golf team's match against Newington. Photos by Martha Marteney.

The rainy weather has not slowed down the Manchester High School girls’ golf team, as it nears the end of the season undefeated in the eastern division of the Central Connecticut Conference. “The worst we can get is tied for first,” said coach Bob Healy, who has been with the team for four years.

Senior Colleen Guinan, senior Olivia Hebert, freshman Chelsey Tinson, sophomore Gina Zoef and senior Amanda Zappulla usually played as the varsity team, although three of the other five team members also played in some of the matches.

According to Healy, Tinson came with very little experience. “We’re happy to have her,” said Healy, describing the freshman as a focused player who uses practice time wisely. “She absorbs information and puts it to work.”

On May 17, the team won a critical match against Newington at the Manchester Country Club. “That’s a huge match for us,” said Healy. “We won by two shots, 214 to 216.”

“It was a close match,” said senior Colleen Guinan, “but we are a very evenly-matched team.”

“I’m really proud of these kids,” said Healy. “It’s certainly our best season in my tenure,” he added. As a coach, he was pleased to see the rewards of the players thinking the game of golf rather than simply playing golf.

“You can’t do this by yourself,” explained Healy. He thanked his previous assistant coach, Lauren Venziano, and current assistant coach, Brent Mikkelsen, for their help. “[Venziano] was very instrumental in teaching the girls to play and enjoy the game,” said Healy. “[Mikkelsen] has been a nice, calming influence on the girls, which is needed on this team.”

According to co-captain Olivia Hebert, the match against Newington may be the deciding factor for the team winning the CCC-east division. “I think this year we’re really close,” said Hebert. “We never played this well.” Hebert is ranked third on the team. “I thought I played well, even with the rain,” she said.

Hebert credits the team’s success to the players being very close-knit. “Personally, I thought golf was the best four years of my life,” said Hebert. The 10-player team will lose four members to graduation. “We really need four girls to come out,” she said, encouraging players from all grades to join the team next year.

“This season is 10 times better than I expected,” said co-captain Amanda Zappulla. “It’s a great way to end my high school career.” She credits the team’s success to the level of commitment from this year’s players. According to Zappulla, the team’s attitude is, “This is a sports team. We’re serious.”

“The support from my coach really helped me,” said Zappulla, explaining that Healy offers one-on-one skill development, tips on playing better, motivational insights, and inspirational messages before the matches. “Golf team has been my favorite part of high school,” she said.

The team’s seniors are: Colleen Guinan, Olivia Hebert, Melissa Kiamie and Amanda Zappulla.

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