Close-knit Griswold golf team led by seniors

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Wed., Apr. 25, 2012
Sophomore Aaron Colter scopes out his putt. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Sophomore Aaron Colter scopes out his putt. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

With fewer than a dozen players, any sports team would tend to be a tight group. Add to that long hikes together in uncertain weather, no crowd of rowdy fans to cheer them on, and a sense of solitude and concentration. Maybe that explains why the boys on Griswold High School’s golf team have forged some serious camaraderie.

“The top five players are all pretty good friends” said coach Paul Richards. “They encourage each other and they know everybody’s got their back.”

Richards, a veteran of more than three decades at the helm of the golf team, is leading a pack of 11 players, four of whom (Joey Berile, Cole Roberts, Sean Shepard and Nick Lagace) are seniors. The team, which plays its home matches at River Run Golf Course, started out the season with two solid wins, overwhelming both Montville and St. Bernard. They’ll be meeting up with both teams again; they travel to the Norwich Golf Course on May 8 for a rematch with the Saints and then face Tourtelotte at home May 10.

Like other Class S coaches from many sports, Richards is grateful this season that his team won’t be facing last year’s division champ Stonington, which was bumped up to Class M. “The team we’ll be fighting against [this season] will be Tourtelotte,” he said.

The good news is that he has everybody on the Griswold squad back from last year. The bad news is that four of his top five golfers will graduate in June. “Next year we’ll have to start rebuilding all over again,” he said.

Griswold’s top golfer, Joey Berile, has been playing on the Wolverine team for four years and plays competitive golf on his own in the off-season. “He’s used to competition. That’s his strength,” said Richards. Berile is planning to play golf at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., next year.

Sean Shepard, who plays in the second slot, also hopes to play golf in college, though he’s not yet certain where. Though only in his second year on the team, “he’s gotten to be a real student of the game,” Richards said.

Next year the coach will be looking to junior Andrew Berardi, who he said “has improved a lot from last year,” and sophomore Aaron Colter, who has also “been working hard and improving,” to return as team leaders.

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