Greenwich, Staples tie for second behind Berlin at girls golf state championship

All the stars seemed to be aligned for the Greenwich High girls golf team in its quest to capture its first state championship.

The Cardinals entered the competition as the No. 1 seed and FCIAC champions after posting a 361 score on the same course, Orange Hills Country Club in Orange, that played host to Tuesday's state championship. The hope was the momentum would carry Greenwich toward the first state championship by an FCIAC school since 2008.

However, it wasn't meant to be for the Cardinals, as they had to settle for a tie for second with Staples with a score of 370 and behind Berlin (358), which claimed the title for the third straight season. The Redcoats became the first school to win the championship three times.

"I'm very happy for the team but this is one day," Greenwich coach Marie Shimchick said. "We got a No. 1 seeding based on what we did all season long, not what we did in one day. Things didn't go the way we would have liked today, but sometimes that's golf. Berlin was the better team today."

Despite topping the Wreckers twice during the regular season and by 17 strokes in the FCIACs, the Cardinals shared second place with their rivals. Staples was the lone school to have all five players shoot below 100, although the top four scores were counted. Staples coach Bob Byiteck called it "one of our best days of the season," but also believes his team could've cut down its score even more.

"Could we have been closer? Absolutely? I think we could've win it all, and I think the young ladies know that," he said. "I know they believed they could've won the state championship."

Faith Garcia led the Wreckers with an 11-over 85, followed by Mary Bennewitz (93), Erica Stein (96) and Christie Cantor (96).

"It was a big rivalry between us and Staples," Shimchick said. "We didn't know how it was going to turn out today, but I was glad it ended in a tie instead of one of us being on the losing end. It was fitting."

Greenwich was led by Catherine McEvoy (83), Alexandra Sazhin (91), Kendyl Nethercott (94) and Amalie Young (102). McEvoy shot a 79 last week and noted how much pressure a state match can bring.

"I think we all knew it would be tough competition, all of the girls did pretty well today," McEvoy said. "A couple of shots here or there can make a big difference."

The Cardinals and Wreckers weren't the only FCIAC schools to impress Tuesday. Darien, which entered the day seeded ninth, placed fifth behind an 83 from Izzy Lee. Danbury finished ninth and Trumbull came home 14th in the 15-team field.

"I was just able to have a good read on the greens, which were tough," Lee said. "For the team to come in here and improve by four positions is a really nice accomplishment."

Berlin's sophomore Julia Kemmling (6-over, 80) shot the low score of the round, earning medalist honors. Four players tied for second at 9-over, including Lee, Ridgefield's Rachel Corry, McEvoy and Simsbury's Mikayla Sheary. Garcia's 85 was the third best score.

"We had a wonderful season and set a lot of records and this would have been the icing on the cake," Shimchick said. "It wasn't the cake for us."

Garcia earned all-state and all-New England honors and will compete at the New England Championships at Bretwood Golf Club in Keene, N.H. on June 17, Byiteck said.

"She's did everything she could," Byiteck said, referring to Garcia's performance.

Ryan Lacey is a freelance writer

CIAC Golf Girls Division State Tournament

At Orange Hills CC

Team scores: 1. Berlin 358, T2. Staples 370, T2. Greenwich 370, 4. Farmington 380, 5. Darien 385, 6. Conard 388, 7. Lauralton Hall 397, 8. Glastonbury 399, 9. Danbury 400, T10. Northwest Catholic 401, T10. Avon 401, 12. Simsbury 404, 13. Hall 412, 14. Trumbull 428, 15. Cheshire 433.

Individual scoring

1. Berlin: Julia Kemmling 80, Ashley D'Attilo 86, Abby Underwood 93, Emily-Anne Deutsch 99.

T2. Staples: Faith Garcia 85, Mary Bennewitz 93, Erica Stein 96, Christie Cantor 96.

T2. Greenwich: Catherine McEvoy 83, Alexandra Sazhin 91, Kendyl Nethercott 94, Amalie Young 102.

4. Farmington: Michelle Sangelotty 91, Haley Campbell 93, Kate Fagan 96, Annie Harris 100.

5. Darien: Izzy Lee 83, Juliana Lee 90, Amanda Sload 105, Margot Sweeney 107.

6. Conard: Alaina Torromeo 92, Abigail Langevin 97, Erika Terencio 99, Genevieve Brewer 100.

7. Lauralton Hall: Chelsea Donovan 87, Emma Catalfamo 89, Marisa Messer 110, Ariana Romanelli 111.

8. Glastonbury: Alexandra LeClair 89, Elizabeth Andrian 92, Taylor Taschner 108, Kimberly O'Keefe 110.

9. Danbury: Katelyn Mooney 98, Jen Bischof 99, Samantha Steichen 100, Faith Mancuso 103.

T10. Northwest Catholic: Sadie Martinez 93, Rachel Bercowetz 102, Hannah Wade 102, Zoe Lavoie 104.

T10. Avon: Marissa Grillo 86, Alana Pulling 103, Melissa Horovitz 103, Christine Bae 109.

14. Trumbull: Colomba Martinez 99, Caitlyn Longwell 103, Hailey Pekera 112, Addy Vitols 113.