Woodstock Academy girls win ECC golf tournament

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Jun. 10, 2013
The winning Woodstock Academy team flanked by athletic director Aaron Patterson and coach Randy Weigand. Photos by D. Coffey.
The winning Woodstock Academy team flanked by athletic director Aaron Patterson and coach Randy Weigand. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Woodstock Academy girls' golf team walked away with the ECC girls' golf tournament team trophy on June 4. Their team score of 211 bested second-place Norwich Free Academy's score by 12 strokes. Individual medalist honors went to NFA's Katie Strickland, who shot 44. Woodstock students took second and third place: Paige Carito scored 49, and Grace Yang came in with 50.

The third annual golf tournament brought together 22 golfers from Woodstock, NFA, Bacon Academy, East Lyme, Ledyard and Thompson. Strickland had a shaky start to the nine-hole shotgun tournament at Quinnatisset Country Club in Thompson. After scoring seven and nine on the first two holes, she buckled down to make par on three. She had two birdies as well on a course she calls one of her favorites.

“It was a little windy, but I didn't let it bother me,” Strickland said. “I got to regain myself after the first two holes.” Her score was her second lowest to date, coming after a 43 on the NFA home course. “I didn't do well in last year's tournament,” she said. “This year I was determined to come away with the win.”

“She had a terrible start,” said NFA coach Bob Rothstein. “She hit the ball into a lateral water hazard. She lost strokes. She could have had lower than a 44. Fortunately I have her back next year.”

Carito admitted to having some trouble with the wind, especially on her tee shots and at the seventh hole. But she was pleased with the team's overall finish. “We'll get jackets, a trophy and bragging rights,” she said.

Woodstock coach Randy Weigand has championed the tournament as a way to raise interest among female athletes in the ECC. Rothstein has done the same. “I just keep spreading the word,” he said.

The tournament gave Tourtellotte Memorial High School student Abby Poirier her first opportunity to play against girls all season. She was a member of the 2013 TMHS boys team. “To come here has been a dream come true,” she said. “All my friends play softball or track, but I'm trying to round up players [for girls' golf].” 

Rothstein has coached golf for 23 years at NFA, the last seven years for the girls' team. He's been preaching and cajoling and exhorting his fellow coaches, players and other athletes to give golf a try.

“It's a sport you can play the rest of your life,” he said. “And there's as much a social atmosphere as anything. You're playing against yourself. You aren't really playing against the person in your group. You are playing against the course. And every day presents different situations: you're in the elements, the grass has been cut, the course has been aerated. You're never hitting the same shot twice.”

Weigand has also been a strong proponent of girls' golf. He's losing Carito and Joelle Morrone to graduation, but three of his top golfers are coming back next year. “I'm optimistic about next year,” he said. The trophy was a highlight of a year that went well for his team. “This was one of our goals,” he said. “I'm happy to get the trophy back.”

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