Finally, a successful year for Uxbridge golf
By CHRISTOPHER TREMBLAY Staff Sport Writer
The Uxbridge golf team hasn’t had any success for over a decade, but last fall the Spartans were finally able to qualify for the post-season by recording an 11-5 record. Without losing anyone from that squad, Uxbridge was able to improve upon last year’s performance.
“I’ve been the coach here for nine years and last year was the first time in at least 10 years that Uxbridge was able to qualify for the District Tournament,” Spartan Coach Dave Lyman said. “The kids got to practice over the summer having access to the courses. During Covid golf was the only thing that you could really do, and a lot of kids started playing and found that they liked it.”
According to the Uxbridge coach, golf is a tough sport to access and expensive; however, with Blissful Meadows Golf Club (Uxbridge’s home course) only being a few miles away from the high school kids are able to get to it rather easily. The golf club also has a practice facility where the kids can hone their golf skills. Lyman noted that kids are getting jobs there, so they get free golf time while others have been getting memberships.
During the past seasons golf at Uxbridge High School was not pretty, but recently the program has made a turn for the better.
“Uxbridge has been one of the lowest if not the lowest team in the Southern Worcester County League (SWCL) where we would only win one or two matches a year and that was fairly recently,” the Spartan coach said. “About three years momentum started to take place on the golf course here and that included the Covid year where we had a bunch of football players come out for the team because the season was broken up into Fall I and II.”
Last fall Uxbridge barely qualified for the District Tournament earning the 13th and final spot in the pos-season, but Lyman noted that “at least they qualified.” This year after finishing second in the SWCL Championships Uxbridge moved onto the Districts where they took home fifth place moving up eight spots while shaving 70 strokes off their previous year’s score. The Spartan golfers were a mere six strokes away from moving into the State Tournament.
Leading the team on the scorecard will be junior Cameron Caso and senior tri-captain Katie Cullen, who are respectively Uxbridge’s 1A and 1B, respectively. Caso originally ran cross country in support of his older brother during the fall, but when his brother went to college he switched to golf. While he still runs track, golf is his main sport and over the last three years he has decreased his average from 50 to 42 to 38 this year.
“Cameron has improved each year with the time spent on the course had a purpose,” Lyman said. “Last year he struggled with his putting, so he worked a lot on that during the off season and it has shown.”
Caso, who was named to be next year’s captain, shot a 73 to capture the SWCL Championship.
Cullen, who has been on the team since the seventh grade, is a 4 time All-Star and a role model to her teammates. The senior has run the gamut with the team’s success; she’s been on the team who only had one win and the team then had success over the last two seasons.
Cullen has verbally committed to play golf at Randolph Macon College in Virginia, a Division 3 school, but her coach believes that she could play Division 1 golf.
“In the seventh grade she was new to the sport and got involved because there was nothing else that interested her,” he said. “This year she averaged a 41 and over the last few years she has taken off a stroke a year.”
Following Caso and Cullen in the three spot is freshman Brady Esposito, who although he is teeing off for his second season, it’s his first season that he is taking it seriously and it shows. Last year he shot a 126 at the District Tournament, this fall he dropped his score to 85.
“He has the potential down the road with a chance to contend for a State Title if he stays focused,” Lyman said.
Another senior tri-captain, Sophie Compston is a four-year player who averaged 45 this fall. She is a good communicator on the course and keeps her teammates in line while helping to analyze their play. Her coach says she is a smart player, and you’ll never see her hit a shot deep into the woods when she is focusing.
Other Spartan golfers are freshmen Cameron Bartlett (45 average) and Lola Grube (49 average) and senior tri-captain Evan Grube (48 average).
Coming into the year Lyman knew that the team was going to continue to build the program but had the potential to contend with the teams that they have not been able to beat in the past. According to the coach, the team was lucky to be playing those tough teams (Grafton and Tantasqua) on their home course. One of the team’s loses came at the first match of the season against Auburn, who went on to win the SWCL this year.
While Uxbridge does not have enough females coming out for the girl’s team in the spring, Cullen will be eligible to play in the championship and could win it all.
Although the Spartans will be graduating five seniors from the team Lyman still believes that the team will once again be able to contend, and they expect to go undefeated.
“That’s our goal every year, but now it’s finally obtainable,” Lyman joked.
If the team continues to work on their skills during the off-season the way they have been doing, there should be no reason why the Spartan golfers wouldn’t be able to accomplish that perfect season.