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Nipmuc Golf Captures Sectional Title

Celebrating their win is the sectional championship Nipmuc golf team, from left to right: Ryan Horn, Jack Shuber, Nick Bertrand, Justin DiAntonio, Teddy Carey, Nick Mignone, Matt Dunning, Sam Pirozzi, John Kussuth, Jake Osgood.  Not present for the photo were Tommy Andrellos and Henry Marshall. Chris DiAntonio photo

On the bus ride to Highfields Golf Course last week, Nipmuc golf coach Kevin Connors knew this trip to the Central Sectional Tournament was going to be different. "In past years, districts was just something we went to," he said. "This year, I could tell by the way the kids were on the bus, we were going to win. We won some big matches during the season and that gave us a lot of confidence."
The Warriors posted a 12-3 record in the dual meet season and capped it off with a sectional championship, the first in school history. The tournament came down to the final pairing, with sophomore Justin DiAntonio carding a 79 to give Nipmuc a one-stroke victory over Grafton. Senior Jack Shuber earned medalist honors with a 76 on the tough, par-72 track in Grafton.
"I knew going in we were going to be battling for first with Grafton," said Connors. "Had we not been at least second, I would have been disappointed. [The championship] is a big accomplishment for our program and something we can build on. We knew coming in that we deserved to be here, we had some great wins this year on some tough golf courses."
Rounding out the scoring for Nipmuc's title team were senior co-captains Teddy Carey who shot 88 and Matt Dunning who carded a 94. Fellow seniors Tommy Andrellos, Nick Bertrand, and Nick Mignone and sophomore John Kossuth were all regular contributors to the lineup throughout the season.
Nipmuc advanced to Monday's state tournament at Blackstone National Golf Course in Sutton, where the Warriors placed 10th in Division 2. Shuber and Dunning each shot 88, with DiAntonio's 89 and Carey's 90 also counting towards the Nipmuc total. Bertrand and Kossuth also competed and shot 96 and 99, respectively.
"A couple of our guys had a bit of a tough day and could have shot lower, but this is a tough course and there is obviously a little more pressure on this stage," said Connors. "The conditions were great, but these are the best division two players in the state.
"Blackstone National was a great host for the tournament," he added. "They have done a lot to promote junior golf and high school golf."
Connors said the format, an 18-hole, stroke play tournament, added an extra element to the competition. "We typically play nine-hole matches," he said. "Here, you need to play 18 holes and keep your focus the entire time. One bad hole can throw you off, so you really need to avoid the big number."
The Warriors avoided the big numbers for most of the season, and rolled to the most successful year a Nipmuc golf team has had.
"All in all, this was a great year," said Connors. "It was a great experience to bring the whole team to the states and to go 12-3. It was an honor for us and an honor for our league to play in the state tournament, we were very happy with how this season went."


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