BILLERICA — Expectations are always high for the Shawsheen Tech Golf team, and with very good reason. High expectations kind of come with the territory when you win the league title year after year.
But heading into last season, those expectations were also met with some question marks, as the Rams took to the course with a relatively inexperienced team, with only one senior.
But any doubts were soon erased, as the Rams posted a perfect 12-0 record within the CAC to win their 14th consecutive league title. The run of league titles gets more remarkable each season and Shawsheen coach Tom Struthers enjoyed last season’s run to the championship as much as all of the others.
“Every year you always have some doubts and last year we looked at some of our league opponents like Essex Tech and Minuteman and knew they would be very good,” Struthers said. “I don’t know if it was the pressure of keeping the streak going or whatever it is, but the kids put in all the hard work necessary for us to have a successful season.”
Nothing is guaranteed of course, but the Rams most certainly look primed for another very successful season, having lost just one player off of last year’s championship squad. They also look to be in position to continue their great run for at least another couple of seasons, as they have a lineup dominated by juniors and sophomores, with only two seniors.
And while they will certainly miss the leadership provided by last years’ captain Cam LeRoux provided, this year’s squad looks stacked from top to bottom with talented and experienced players.
“Cam was a very big part of what we did last season. We have been blessed to have a number of great captains over the years and Cam was definitely a great one,” Struthers said. “But we have some good players coming back who got better every time out last season, so we will see what they are all about. I think we are going to have a very good season.”
Leading the way this season for the Rams will be senior captain Brady McFadden of Tewksbury. McFadden is one of only two seniors on the squad for the Rams, and Struthers is confident that the team is in very good hands under his leadership.
“Brady was a good player for us last year,” Struthers said. “He competed very well. A lot was expected of him and he lived up to it. I feel like he will be just as good as our captains of the past. He is a great soft spoken kid who performs very well. He will either be our number one or number two player and wherever he is, I am sure he will do very well.”
Competing with McFadden for the top spot in the lineup will be another Tewksbury resident, junior Sean Murphy.
“He is probably going to lead our junior class, which we have a lot of,” Struthers said. “He is a great player. He had a fantastic year last year playing number three for us as a sophomore. We are hoping for more of the same this year. He is more confident and more mature. We are looking for big things from him.”
A pair of players, junior Stephen O’Connor of Wilmington and senior Andre Comeau will be among those vying for the number three and four slots with the team.
“Stephen did very well last year. He was averaging around a 44 or 45, and this year he is even better. He is going to be another great part of the Shawsheen program,” Struthers said. “As a senior, Andre is another great leader for us. He is such a great kid, and he could definitely fit into that number three or four slot.”
Junior Connor Preble of Tewksbury, along with fellow junior Aiden Sullivan will also be battling to earn a spot in the top half of the Rams lineup.
“Connor is a kid who has put in a lot of work. Sometimes when kids come back and are practicing every day, there are some good days and some bad,” Struthers said. “But Connor has been playing well and he has the potential to score in the high 30’s or low 40’s. Aiden practices all the time. He just wants to get better and better, and one he realizes just how good he is, he will be even better.”
Juniors DJ Ducharme and Nolan Rexford, among others, will also be looking to earn spots in the staring lineup. Both saw playing time last season, and are further evidence of just what a deep roster the Rams have.
“What’s nice about this team is that there are so many kids capable of shooting a 38 or 39 every time out,” Struthers said. “Of course they could also shoot a 45 or 46, so the key will to be consistent.”
Essex Tech will once again be very strong in the CAC, as will Minuteman, Northeast and Nashoba, but Struthers is very confident that the Rams will once again power their way to the top of the league, and hopefully beyond.
“I feel very confident that we will have a very good season and represent Shawsheen very well. Out goals, like every year are to win the league, win the vocational title and win the CAC Tournament,” Struthers said. “We would also love to be able to go the state tournament as a team. We have had individuals go, but we would really love for this year to be the year.
“We are also hoping this year to give our non-league opponents (Austin Prep, Bedford and Malden Catholic) a run for their money. I feel like this team is strong enough to do that. We definitely have the skill to do it, but the question is will we be able to bring it to our game on a consistent basis. If we can do that, we will have a very good season.”
The Rams opened their season on Tuesday against Gr. Lowell on the road with results not known as of presstime. The team will continue bus trips for its next four matches, stopping at Minuteman on Thursday, and then Northeast on the 11th and Nashoba Tech on the 12th, before hosting Austin Prep in a non-league match on the 17th.