Best rank in years: Colby Golf ties for sixth at NESCAC qual
The Colby golf team has come in last place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Golf Qualifier for many years, but this year was very different. After a fourth place finish out of six teams at the end of September, Colby had the momentum it needed to be competitive at this weekend's important event. Playing two rounds, one Saturday, October 3, and one Sunday, October 4, at Williams College, Colby tied with Amherst College for sixth place out of ten NESCAC teams. "In the NESCAC, we have finished in the ninth or tenth spot on a regular basis," Coach Jim Tortorella said. "To move into sixth place and beat Bowdoin and Bates showed that we are competitive, and to shoot the number that we did was encouraging."
The Mules had a two-day total of 628, only three strokes behind fifth place. Williams won the event with a total score of 595, shooting 297 the first day and 298 the second day. Hamilton College was close behind Williams, in second place, with a two-day score of 597 (291, 306). Trinity College (603), Middlebury College (608) and Tufts University (625) finished in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. Colby shot a 317 the first day, and a 311 the second day, and Amherst shot a 318 the first day, and a 310 the second day; both teams wanted that sixth position bad and stepped up on the second day.
Harry Smith '12 finished first for the Colby team with a two-day score of 150, consistently scoring a 74 on the first day, and a 76 on the second day. Smith finished in a tie for 10 place overall. Smith is also the number one position player on the Colby squash team, and although he is a sophomore, this is his first year playing on the golf team. Tripp Huber '13 finished second for the Mules with a two-day score of 153, also shooting consistently with a 76 the first day, and a 77 the second day. Tom Lampert '12 (161), Hans Noering '10 (164),and Sam Rouleau '10 (176) rounded up the Colby squad. "We had a couple of players really step up to the plate and shoot scores that we have been looking for all season," Rouleau said. Phil Preiss of Hamilton, finishing in second, was the individual winner of the tournament, consistently scoring a 71 each of the days, for a two-day score of 142. On the course throughout the day were other teams commenting on the respectability of the improved Colby team, and its ability to stay in the hunt over the two-day tournament. The event this weekend was a qualifier for the NESCAC Golf Championships, and the top four teams from this weekend, Williams, Hamilton, Trinity and Middlebury, each earned a position in the spring tournament.
The weekend was rainy, and the course was difficult because of it. Saturday started with an hour and a half delay, before the course was ready for play. However, the workers did a good job of making the course playable in tough conditions. "It was good the rain didn't start in the middle of play, because this way everyone played under the same conditions," Tortorella said. Even with the challenging conditions, and the long hold before the game, the Colby squad stayed calm and stepped up when it was needed. "Nerves don't really come before the game, when we are waiting to play, like they might in other sports," Tortorella said, "but they come to play over certain, important, shots."
The team will compete in the Colby/Bates/Bowdoin tournament on Sunday, October 18, at the Waterville Country Club. For the seniors on the team, Noering and Rouleau, it will be their last time playing as Mules. However, these men, and inspiring leaders on the team, will certainly look back on this season as a great success. "I don't think there are any word that could [describe the season] better than the results at the NESCAC [Qualifier]. We have come a long way and were a new team this year," Noering said. "We will miss Noering and Rouleau, who have both worked hard to put it all together this year," Tortorella said. "I am excited to see what Huber, Smith, Lampert and the rest of the team can do in the next couple of years."