Yarmouth golf team primed to make history
The good times keep getting better for the Yarmouth golf team.
A year after winning nine regular season matches and finishing second to York at the Class B state championship match, the Clippers have even higher aspirations.
"The kids have had enough of silver," said first-year coach Gregg Baker, prior to the season. "They want gold."
Presuming Yarmouth took care of business at the Western Maine Conference qualifier Tuesday and earned a berth in the state match, the Clippers like their chances to end York's three year reign and capture a title for the first time Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.
Yarmouth almost ran the table in the regular season, winning its first 10 matches with only one scare, a 4-3 victory at perennial power Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers also beat visiting York, 6-1, in arguably their best of many stellar performances.
"(The kids have) played very well," said Baker, YHS Class of 1972. "It's a great bunch of kids. We have great team camaraderie. It's a really fun group to work with. We beat Cape without a top player. We played very well against York and posted one of the best team scores we've ever posted."
The run finally ended with a 7-0 loss at York last Thursday, but almost every individual match came down to the wire in that one.
While most successful golf teams have a couple strong players at the top and fill in from there, the whole Yarmouth seven-person rotation has impressed and great play has come from both genders.
Junior Monica Austin tied for second at last year's girls' individual state match and has her sights set on the top spot this time around. Juniors Jordan Brown and Grace King are also steady winners.
The boys aren't too shabby either. Seniors Cal Cooper, Red DeSmith and Nick Lainey were all league all-stars in 2011 and have all produced strong showings on the state level. Senior Matt Highland and junior Spencer Olson provide great depth.
"I'm very impressed by my 1, 2 and 3 players, Monica, Cal and Red," said Baker. "When Monica plays the ladies' tees, they're interchangeable. They can all shoot at or under par. Nick has been really solid in the No. 4 position. Spencer Olson has been a pleasant surprise. He's played a lot better this year. To go five deep and have five players shoot in the low 40s is pretty impressive. Grace King and Jordan Brown flip-flop in the No. 6 position. They've even played in the 5 spot at times."
Count Yarmouth athletic director Susan Robbins as one of the program's many admirers.
"The program has made great strides this season," Robbins said. "We've been knocking on the door the last few years and we couldn't be more proud of how the team has played during the regular season. Ten and one is certainly the best record during my eight-year tenure at Yarmouth. People around the league are taking notice and in particular that we have had three girls in the top seven for the entire season, which is very impressive. I am excited and anxious to see how the team fairs at the qualifier this week and beyond."
Ultimately, this team is eager to prove its merit at the team state meet Saturday and the individual championships Oct. 13 (also at Natanis).
The Clippers have what it takes to bring home some hardware and make history.
"Monica was the low qualifier for the conference, shooting a 76," said Baker. "Grace and Jordan also qualified, shooting 89. We have a legitimate shot at states. If we play well, we have a chance to win. If we have a good day and York has a good day, we'll be in it."