Irish, Bulldogs set for state event
Sunbury is site of Div. II tourney
By ALEXIS BARTOLOMUCCI
For the first time in at least 10 years, two local schools are heading to the Division II state boys golf tournament.
The Poland and Ursuline boys golf teams are traveling to NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury for competition and Saturday.
Ursuline took second place at district with a score of 227 and Poland was close behind shooting a 331 at Windmill Lakes in Ravenna.
Poland’s head coach Dave DiGiacomo has been coaching the boys team for 17 years and this is the first team has has taken to state.
DiGiacomo and his team have two goals as they make their way to the course — represent the school and community to the highest degree through sportsmanship and character and score high enough to get on the podium.
“Our goal for state is to be top eight and to be on the podium,” Jake Snyder said. “We weren’t expecting to go, so it was a huge accomplishment.”
The Bulldogs qualified for state by defeating Hawken, who came in fourth place, by one stroke. The boys said the fashion in which they won — with a hole-in-one by Alex Rapp — made that win much more exciting.
“We were waiting until the very last tally, until the very last group to find out who won,” Kyle Koziel said. “I waited for over an hour to find out who won.”
The Bulldogs have been preparing both mentally and physically. They spend almost every day together whether it be hanging out or practicing what they know they need to work on.
“I really trust all five of them, they love to play,” DiGiacomo said. “I think what sets them apart is they really do love to practice.”
Zach Howard is the only senior on the team, which motivates him to try even harder to end his season with a celebration.
Luke Nord is looking forward to playing at the state level as a freshman and hopes that he and will be able to attend all four years.
“It does push me and it’s exciting to see that these guys made state their junior year,” Howard said. “They should do well next year, it’ll be a good experience for them to grow.”
Poland will be competing against some of their friends on the Ursuline team, who they defeated by one stroke in the sectional. The outcome flipped at district and the Irish beat the Bulldogs by four strokes.
“It meant a lot. All the work we put in this year and all the time of going out together,” Ursuline’s Seamus Chrystal said.
The Irish said they see themselves as one big family and spend a lot of their free time together. Over the summer they would golf almost everyday and spend up to five hours a day with each other.
“Six years of coaching for me and this is the most close-knit group that we’ve had,” Ursuline coach Matt Morgan said.
The Irish are looking to win it all, but they hope to make top 25 in the individual category and top four as a team.
Morgan nor any of his players have played on the course, so they are looking forward to the new experience. Today will be a practice day and then the teams will play 18 holes on Friday and Saturday.
“We’re just excited right now,” Drew Murphy said. “The nervous part’s not here yet.”
The Irish are made up of two seniors — Carl Ross and Colin Faloon — and three juniors — Chrystal, Murphy and Alex Stoneman.
“It feels great and the work really paid off,” Ross said. “It’s our first time in 10 years going to state so we just have to enjoy it and play our best.”