NORTH READING – The Shawsheen Tech Golf team thought their season had already come to an end. After wrapping up their 16th straight regular season Commonwealth Athletic Conference championship with a perfect 8-0 record the week before, it looked as if the Rams could start making preparations for the off season.
But thanks to the efforts of the coaches in the CAC, the Rams and three other teams in the league took to the course one more time last Thursday to play in the CAC Tournament at Hillview Country Club in North Reading. And in typical Shawsheen fashion, the Rams came out on top of the field, taking home the tournament title with a total score of 256, easily outdistancing second place Essex Tech by ten strokes.
The fact that the Rams were playing in the CAC Tournament at all came as somewhat of a surprise as for the most part this season post season tournaments have not been allowed by the MIAA. With proper social distancing, golfers were allowed to hold the tournament and led by Essex Tech, the league’s coaches came together to make it happen.
“It was kind of a last minute thing,” Shawsheen coach Tom Struthers said. “The coach at Essex Tech, Timothy Johnson and the athletic director, Farah Lalli, put it together. It was a great time. The weather was great and everybody enjoyed it. It was great for the kids to get out there one last time.”
The Rams joined Essex Tech, Nashoba Tech and Greater Lowell at the tournament and were represented by seniors Aiden Sullivan, Connor Preble of Tewksbury, DJ Ducharme and Sean Murphy of Tewksbury. Sullivan led the way for Rams with an 82, followed by Preble with an 84, Ducharme with a 90 and Murphy with a 94. Only the top three scores count towards the team total, giving the Rams their winning score of 256.
“I wish we played a little bit better and I think the kids do too, but playing on a course they had never played on before, it is to be expected,” Struthers said. “But overall, it was a great way to end a great season.”
While he was of course happy to see his team win, Struthers was also happy to see members of the opposing teams also play well, including Essex, who had the overall medalist for the tournament with a score of 81.
“That was nice to see,” Struthers said. “It just goes to show that there is definitely some competition in the league for us.”
Struthers of course, was even happier for members of the Rams who played well, particularly Sullivan.
“I was very happy for Aiden,” Struthers said. “He had a really good round, which was nice to see.”
Coming off a pair of big wins earlier in the week over Nashoba Tech, the Shawsheen Tech Boys and Girls Cross Country teams took to the road once again last Thursday for another tough Commonwealth Athletic Conference matchup, this time taking on a pair of talented Greater Lowell squads.
This time however, the results were not as good for the Rams as both teams suffered tough losses with the girls falling by a score of 21-36 and the boys dropping a 23-32 decision.
With the losses, the girls fell to 4-2 on the season, while the boys saw their record drop to 3-2.
Despite the losses, the Rams got some strong performances from both teams, particularly on the girls side, where Devin Sweeney finished second overall in a personal best time of 22:15. Sweeney trailed only Greater Lowell’s outstanding Talei Chandonnet, one of the top runners in the entire CAC. Chandonnet took first place in a time of 21:42, but she could not shake Sweeney for most of the race.
“Devin ran quite well,” Shawsheen coach Pat Kelly said. “Their girl is one of the top three runners in the league, so for Devin to hang with her was pretty impressive.”
The Rams, however, were done in when Greater Lowell took the next three spots before Shawsheen junior Kaylee Gaffney of Tewksbury took sixth place in a time of 25:32. Gaffney was followed closely by Rams sophomore Hannah Lyle in a time of 25:53. After Greater Lowell took the number eight spot, the Rams Sandra Watne of Wilmington took ninth in a time of 27:06.
The Rams were without the services of their regular number two runner, senior captain Rachael Halas, and the combination of facing one of the better teams in the league without one of their better runners was too much for the Rams to overcome.
“Their number one is one of the best in the league, and unfortunately we were without our number two,” Kelly said. “I think Rachael could have beaten possibly all three of their runners after their top girl and things might have gone differently. But the kids come to this school to learn their trade, and Rachael had a great opportunity with her job so she had to miss the meet. Rachael felt bad about missing the meet, but she shouldn’t, because that is why they are here.”
On the boys side, the Rams seemed to be just a tad slower than usual, and certainly a little off from their thrilling 27-28 win over Nashoba Tech on Monday in horrible weather conditions. They did get some strong efforts, but it was not quite enough to overcome a talented Gryphons squad that was at the top of their game.
“Lowell is very deep and they would have been tough to beat under any circumstances,” Kelly said. “But making it tougher was that on Monday, a lot of guys had to really run hard to get their spots. We had a lot of kids get their PR’s on Monday, and it is very difficult to get back to back PR’s. Greater Lowell ran Monday as well, but I don’t think the team they faced pressed them as much as we were.”
Greater Lowell’s Albert Ferreiras took first place overall in a fantastic time of 17:24, followed by teammate Ryan Palman in 17:52, before Shawsheen’s Alex Smith took third overall in a time of 18:32. Greater Lowell’s Brendan Foley was fourth overall in a time of 18:45, before Shawsheen junior Paul Tower of Tewksbury took fifth in 19:07. Greater Lowell then took sixth place, before the Rams took the next three spots with junior Joe D’Ampolo of Tewksbury taking seventh in 20:01, followed by junior Andrew Stokes of Wilmington in 21:06 and senior Sam Quatrocchi in 21:07.
While the loss was certainly what Kelly or the boys squad was hoping for, Kelly did not want his team to be discouraged prior to their final meet of the season Saturday when they host Essex Tech at Shawsheen for a 10:00 am start.
“I told them not to feel bad about it,” Kelly said. “We have a great group of seniors who have worked hard all season long and throughout their careers. It has been a great season so far for both the boys and the girls, so it will be good to see what people can do in the last meet of the season.”