by Roger Wistar
Early results have the golf team excited about its prospects for this season.
Although a late thaw has given the team only two match days thus far, the Bearcats (5-0) managed to break 200 on both days and record five early wins, including a seven-stroke victory over powerhouse Brunswick on Apr. 15.
One of the keys to the team's success thus far and throughout the season will be team chemistry, said head coach Jason Maier. "Having a team that is willing to work together and maintain a positive attitude and help each other is really key for us," he said.
Maier added that above wins and losses, he puts more emphasis on sportsmanship, camaraderie, and respect for the game, and thus far he has been pleased with the results. "They've been very supportive and helpful," he said.
One of the advantages that this year's team has in building team unity is the fact that the eight golfers on the team are drawn entirely from the Lower Mid and Upper Mid classes. Four Seniors graduated last year, and there are five Preps currently in the JV program.
"The fact that they are close in grade and know each other in different ways is good," said Maier, adding that the ability to carry most or all of the players through to next season gives the program an advantage in development.
"We're focusing on how to set them up this season so they can build with each other and individually next season," he said.
In terms of leadership, the team will rely on its four returning players – Kuma Matsukata '18, Kenneth Wu '18, Jonathan Patrick '19, and James Horrocks '19 – to help pass on expectations and culture to the new members, who include one newcomer (Michael Gillis '18) and three players promoted from last year's JV team (Jack Lewis '18, Yang Wang '18, and Casey Wolff '19).
Maier said that it was a point of pride for the program to allow upward mobility from the JV team, which this season has 26 golfers.
Having significant roster turnover was a challenge this season because of the March blizzard, which kept the team off the course for several days after Spring Break. The late outdoor start made it take longer to evaluate players, which has delayed the process of coming together as a cohesive team, said Maier.
Helping to offset the weather hindrances was the return of assistant coach Tiffany Lim, an elite-level golfer who will work with both the girls and boys programs this season. Lim will be able to focus on working with golfers on their fundamentals, including one-on-one coaching. "The kids this year are very receptive to her coaching," said Maier.