NAUGATUCK — Getting to the NVL golf championship was not half the battle, it was the battle for the Naugatuck golf team.
The Greyhounds surged with three wins in their final four matches of the regular season to secure the eighth and final spot in the 18-hole championship tournament.
Undefeated Holy Cross, the favorite, ran away with the title June 1 at the Watertown Golf Club in Watertown with a blistering round of 350. Naugatuck finished eighth with a 420.
“It was pretty much where I expected us to be,” said Naugatuck head coach Richard Troy, who is in his first year at the helm. “I’m proud of the way we came on as a team down the stretch to reach the championship tournament.”
Considering where the Greyhounds started the season to where they ended, it was quite a bit of progress. As a team, Naugatuck shot a little less than two strokes over par for each of the 18 holes.
Colin Sheedy led the way with a solid round of 89, the eighth lowest total on the day. Zach Monck came through with a 109 followed by Arbner Mehmedi at 110. Connor White hit a 112 with Derek McGrath checking in with a 129.
“We showed tremendous progress as the season went along and to be there for the finals was one of our team’s goals,” Troy said. “Sheedy did a phenomenal job and shot a solid round for us.”
Over the course of the season, the growth of the Naugatuck golf team started to take hold. The Greyhounds will lose seniors Sheedy, Monck, White and Josh McFarland, who was a consistent contributor, to graduation.
Troy and volunteer coach Brian Schacht are looking to up-and-coming players to continue the progress made this season into the future. Sophomores Tyler Nixon, Ryan Brink and Nick Tarmey are the future of Greyhounds golf along with freshmen Joe Macary and Joshua Tribanas.
“It’s all up to them,” Troy said. “I asked them at the start of the season when was the last time they played a round of golf, and most said the last time they played was for the high school team.
“You are not going to compete in this league by just picking up a golf club in April. This game takes a lot more commitment than that. We have several players who have the skill to be very good golfers, but you need to work at it to get better.”
There will be positions open in the lineup next season.
“It will go to whoever wants it the most,” Troy said. “We made good progress this season and we have the talent to get better, but it’s all up to them and how hard they want to work at it.”