Members of the Stowe High School golf team take a breather between holes at the state championship at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury last Wednesday, June 4.

Golf is not the primary sport for many players on the Stowe High and Harwood Union golf teams, but they gave a good account of themselves at the Vermont State Championship, held June 4 at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury.

Stowe finished second in the competition for the Division III state title; the team score of 373 was just eight strokes behind Rivendell Academy. It was Rivendell’s second straight state golf championship.

Harwood finished last among the six teams competing for the Division II state title, but the team score of 389 was only four strokes behind Montpelier.

Rice Memorial High School won the Division II championship, led by a golfer from Stowe.

Stowe’s performance

Head coach Chris Eaton liked the way his team performed on the course.

“They played great today,” Eaton said. “It was a great way to finish the season. It’s a short season, and it’s hard to get good by the end of it, and you know, our guys just came along.”

The Country Club of Vermont is a par-72 course, and when the wind picked up, it proved to be a difficult course for most of the players.

Jackson Felis led Stowe with a round of 83, second-best among all Division III athletes.

Stowe’s Grant Gutstein and Ethan Schmitt shot 90 and 98, respectively; J.J. Clark had a 102 and Vince Van Patten rounded out the scoring with a 114.

Van Patten wasn’t too thrilled about his own score, but was excited about the way his team performed.

“I think we did pretty well,” he said. “Overall, I think this is the best we’ve done. This is just my first year playing golf, but I’m pretty sure that we did better than last year and the year before, so we are happy. For most of us, this is our secondary sport, so second place is good for us.”

Proctor High finished third with 393 strokes; Green Mountain Valley School shot 404, Mid Vermont Christian School 407, and Rochester High 425.

Austin Sayers of Mid Vermont Christian School had the day’s best round in Division III, an 82.

Wait till next year

Rice won the Division II crown with a dominating performance from all five of its golfers. Caleb Connerty, who’s from Stowe and attends Rice in Burlington, was the top individual golfer in Division II, shooting a 72.

Lyndon Institute was second at 343, followed by Springfield High at 357 and Woodstock Union High School at 361.

Before the season, Harwood’s head coach, Brian McCarthy, knew it would be difficult to compete because many team members were relatively green at the game. Harwood persevered, and earned a spot in the finals.

“The fact that this is our home course — it was really special that we made it this year,” McCarthy said. “Regardless of the score, competition is still tough, but it was nice for our kids to make states and make it here, this year, a year where I didn’t expect it.”

Jarek Hammerl led Harwood with a round of 87; Tommy Maloney shot 88, Thomas Belknap 93, Clayton Wells 121 and Parker Merchant 125.

Although Harwood struggled in the finals, McCarthy is excited about next season.

“Next year, when we are having this conversation, this (state championship) is going to make a difference, what happened today,” McCarthy said, “because everybody went out there today and I asked them to finish 18 holes and do the best they could, and they exceeded my expectations.”

Not one of Harwood’s top golfers is a senior, and the team may make a strong run for the next season.

Rutland takes Division I

Rutland High School won the Division I title with a 307, fueled by Drake Hull’s round of 66, six under par. Essex edged St. Johnsbury for second, 317 to 318. South Burlington High School was third with 330, followed by Burr & Burton at 331 and Champlain Valley at 332.

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