Greenwich High girls golfers cap off memorable season

This year’s Greenwich High School girls golf team was on a mission.

After winning the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference championship in 2010, the Lady Cardinals took a disappointing second place last season.

Determined to reclaim the top prize in the conference, as well as being one of the best teams in the states, Greenwich had a season to remember.

“I am so proud of this team,” Greenwich High School head coach Marie Shimchick said. “Statistically this is the best team we’ve had in the eight years that we’ve been a program. They had the lowest scoring average, lowest putting average and individually it’s the first time this program has had two All-State players.”

 

The Cards finished the regular season 15-1, with the only loss of the season coming against Staples High School. However, in the FCIAC tournament, Greenwich exacted revenge, beating the Wreckers by 17 strokes to once again grab the FCIAC title.

Greenwich High finished its season at the state tournament and placed third overall with a score of 366. Berlin won the state title with a score of 348 and Farmington took second with a score of 355.

With revenge on their minds, the Lady Cardinals took to Trumbull’s Tashua Knolls Golf Course for the FCIAC championship and dominated the competition. Greenwich finished the 18-hole event with a score of 355, with Staples High a distant second with 373. Danbury High took the bronze with 385 and Fairfield Warde netted the fourth slot with 398.

Leading the way was senior Brooke Nethercrott, who fired a 3-over 75 and grabbed top individual honors. Freshman Alexandra Sazhin took second on GHS by firing a 12-over 84 on the day. Senior Emma Lunder netted the third spot on the team, shooting a 98 at the finals. Rounding out the scoring was freshman Kendyl Nethercrott, who fired a 102.

“Winning in 2010 was really sweet and it was so disappointing to lose by only two strokes last year,” Shimchick said. “But to get the championship back to Greenwich again was huge. It does so much for the community here. You can win the regular season and get a trophy, but it’s not the year hanging on the banner in the gym. When you’re sitting in the gym, you look at all the banners and think when was the last time a team won. The loss to Staples was incentive for us. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”

When it comes to reasons for the team’s success, Shimchick doesn’t have to look any further than her two senior captains, Lunder and Brooke Nethercrott.

Lunder is the first four-year varsity golfer in two years and GHS won’t have another for at least another two more years.

“She’s so even-tempered and is so positive,” Shimchick said. “She’s like the mother on the team and is the one who seeks out the kids who didn’t have a good round and pumps them up again. She’s a great kid. There’s no drama on the team and a lot of that is because of her leadership.”

While her leadership abilities were second-to-none as a captain, Lunder has steadily improved her golf game.

“She just applied herself and worked so much on her short game,” Shimchick said. “She worked hard on aspect of her game, but it was her short game that has really improved. I wish the season was longer because her scores were dropping. I am so excited for her because her last round of golf as a Cardinal was her best round ever in competition. That’s the way you want someone to end their career.”

Brooke Nethercrott came to Greenwich High School as a sophomore, transferring from Holy Child, and brought the Lady Cardinals to a new level. In the fall, Nethercrott will take her talents to the University of Hartford golf team.

“Without her, we don’t have FCIAC championships because it was her game that really brought it,” Shimchick said. “She’s the first person at GHS to shoot in the 70’s and she was the first person to break 40. She holds nearly every record that we have. I believe that records are meant to be broken, but the bar has been set so high that it’s going to take some time to do that. Brooke has led by example in terms of her approach to the game and how seriously she takes it. She can goof around a lot, but when she tees off, she’s all business.”

Greenwich was able to reclaim the FCIAC title and finish third in the state mainly due to the team’s commitment to its short game. While Shimchick knew that the Lady Cards were frustrated spending only a short amount of time with the driver during practice, she also was aware of the importance of the shots after the tee shot.

“The short game was going to lower the score,” Shimchick said. “During the interview process for next year’s captains, all the kids have said that they wish they worked harder on their short game. It’s tough because everybody wants to hit the long ball but in a nine-hole tournament, you’re only using that driver maybe seven times if that. Some times the driver just gets you in trouble and they don’t have the experience to get out of it.”

In addition to the team’s improvement with the short game, knowing the courses they play on has been a huge help.

“Their course management is amazing,” Shimchick said. “They are starting to learn the angles of the course and play the angles better. It’s the execution that they are improving on. The older kids on the team were teaching the younger girls and the enthusiasm of the freshmen has been great.”

Next year, the Greenwich High School girls golf team will be looking to repeat as FCIAC champions, but will be hoping to add a state championship to its trophy case. Junior Caroline Lee will be making her return to golf next season, due to a knee injury she suffered during ice hockey season that sidelined her this season.

In addition to freshmen Sazhin, Pamela Jennemyr and Kendyl Nethercrott returning next year, junior Connie Bowman, sophomore MacKenzie Freder and a plethora of underclassmen are also looking to step up their game as well. No wonder why Shimchick has high hopes for the Lady Cards.

“All three of our freshmen starters will be back next year,” Shimchick said. “Caroline was still out there working on her short game and working with the JV kids every day. We have a lot of kids that are on the bubble for making the varsity team. As they work on their game over the summer, they realize that if they want to play and have their score count, they need to step up their game.”

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