Eagles win first ever golf State Championship, Jack O’Donnell individual runner-up

Malcolm Herbert '18, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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On Monday, November 6th, BC High won the Division I team State Title for the first time in the program’s history. Haverhill Country Club played host for the tournament, which was postponed a week from its original date due to wind and rain. The conditions were less than ideal once again Monday, with wind and rain present still. The Eagles posted an aggregate total of 304, winning by just one shot over St. John’s Shrewsbury. Barnstable, Xaverian, and St. John’s Prep were also close behind. Jack O’Donnell led the team with a -1 69, Nate Ingram shot 73, Sophomore Joe Paolucci posted a 79, and Seniors Will Strauss and Nate Robards came in with 83s.

Because only six players travel and play in the State and Sectional tournaments, it meant the other six players would be done for the year. Instead of staying home, all six alternates attended the tournament to support their teammates. I was one of the alternates, and I was lucky enough to be able to watch as my teammates played their final holes of the day.

Up in northern Mass, the wind was blowing, creating difficult scoring conditions for the players. This, coupled with the pressure of the entire season’s result at stake and the drive to not let down teammates, made for scores higher than usual. At golf tournaments like this, live scoring is not available, so it’s virtually impossible to know how the teams stand during the action. The anxiety of not knowing creates a tense and uncomfortable environment for both players and spectators. Despite not having leaderboards, it is possible to determine who is playing well. It was obvious that this was the case for BC High Sophomore and 2017 South Sectional champion Jack O’Donnell, as he was through -2 through 14 before making back-to-back bogeys. He remained calm, and played a conservative but mature approach into the 17th, leaving him about 40 feet for birdie. Most players would be happy with a two-putt from that range, but Jack calmly buried the long birdie try, heading to the 18th tee at -1. Jack’s final tee shot put him out of position in the right trees, but a solid recovery shot and pitch left him 12 feet for par. Fully aware of the importance of the par-save for both his team and his individual efforts, he confidentially walked it in to finish with a 69, tying him for Medalist and sending him to a playoff with Holden Elleston of Barnstable for the individual title.

After everyone had come in, all 12 BC High players anxiously awaited the results in the packed clubhouse, carefully testing out different scoring scenarios with iPhone calculators in hand. After what seemed like an eternity of nervous conjectures and hopeful prayers, the dust settled, revealing BC High as the team champions. It had been far too close for comfort, with only one shot— from four players— separating the Eagles from St. John’s Shrewsbury. With a playoff to decide the individual champion, we were allowed only a short lived celebration before heading to the first tee to watch Jack.

As soon as Jack’s tee shot was struck, it was greeted with spirited cheers from us— more exuberant than ever, with the team result secured. Jack, followed close-behind by his group of teammates, carried his maroon and gold bag down the fairway, a red bandana in honor of Welles Crowther tied across the handle of it. Unfortunately the playoff ended when Jack’s birdie putt came up short and Elleston made his, Jack settling for runner-up. When most would have been crushed with disappointment, Jack didn’t blink, joining all of us in celebration, another example of the team’s emphasis on teamwork over individual success. Bottles of sparkling cider were brought to us and sprayed like champagne at the World Series. The now vacant golf course was juxtaposed by our raw joy and excitement. We realized the gravity of our achievement and celebrated accordingly.

It was an incredible experience to be a part of the varsity golf team for the past two years. Some of my best memories from BC High so far have come from the many hours spent together as a team in the early weeks of the school year. The State Title is a culmination and consummation of many years of hard work and a subscription to an effective mindset. The season is a grind, with matches or practices almost every day for the first six weeks of school. Preparation on our own is intense as well; some of our players regularly spend 10 hour days at the course over the summer and weekends, fine-tuning our games.

In addition to hard work however, much of this success has to be attributed to our coach, Mr. Hayes. From the beginning, Mr. Hayes has instilled in us the value of putting the team before ourselves and the importance of adhering to Jesuit and BC High ideals. Golf is traditionally an individual sport, and with everyone competing in his own tournament schedule over the summer, the transition to team play isn’t always easy. There will always be bumps in the road, but we truly came together as a team and committed ourselves to the group over our own game. Mr. Hayes’ values were exemplified by his actions before the season even started. Instead of only carrying ten players, which would mean cutting two seniors that shot three scores in the 70s, he elected to keep twelve players, despite the complications that brought to him as a coach. Mr. Hayes put others before himself. It made the team deeper with talent, and everyone ended up playing instrumental roles in victories and contributing to the team throughout the season.

This victory has been in the making for quite some time. The golf team has endured years and years of close-calls and disappointment. It may not have been the 86 years of torture that another Boston team endured, but it felt like that at times to people involved in the program. On behalf of everyone on the golf team, we couldn’t be more happy to bring the State Title to Morrissey Boulevard for the first time. Thank you to everyone for the support and well-wishes. It was worth the wait.

2017 BC High golf team includes:

Jack O’Donnell ‘20, Joe Paolucci ‘20, Nate Ingram ‘19, Nate Robards (c) ‘18, Dave Driscoll (c) ‘18, Will Strauss ‘18, Clayton Piantedosi ‘18, Mike Dunderdale ‘18, Malcolm Herbert ‘18, Liam Canavan ‘18, Tom Driscoll ‘18, Grant Griswold ‘19, Tom Keady ‘19

Coach: Mr. Hayes

Assistant coach: Mr. Guerin Miller

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Eagles win first ever golf State Championship, Jack O’Donnell individual runner-up