Photos by SuperSource Media.
For more than one reason, this is an accelerated year for the Saratoga Springs High School varsity golf team.
In a typical two-and-a-half-month season, the team would complete numerous practice rounds while also competing in a dozen matches. In 2020, that game schedule has been condensed into just a month, creating a lot less opportunity to fit in practice time.
This year’s team however, has proven they can keep up with the pace.
“The season’s been great. We knew coming in, it was going to be a weird season. Our guys are up for it, though. They’re happy to be out here at all,” said boys varsity coach Jake Zanetti.
PROMISING YOUNG TALENT
During this unprecedented year, preparation has been key.
“The high-level of competition, professionalism, and sportsmanship that the team has built up to by former Head Coach Steve Emler. He (and the golfers’ year-round instructors) is responsible for getting this team to the caliber it is at, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of his guidance and support,” said Zanetti.
It has also set the stage for a promising young talent to emerge.
Saratoga Springs 8th grader, Carter Sica (whose age would typically place him on the Junior Varsity team) has been playing on the varsity team and has a respectable 5th place standing.
“Even though he’s young and new to the varsity golf experience, he’s had golf training and experience playing, so he was ready for competition early on. He’s just coming out, doing his thing. He’s comfortable and not over thinking it because it has a varsity tag,” said Zanetti.
PLAYING A MIND GAME
Young Sica’s success out on the green stems from what’s going on inside his head.
Before he was keeping pace with the accelerated season, he had to prove he could handle the pressure of being the youngest member on the varsity team.
“I’ve been playing for a while, so I was just playing and just trying to score what I usually do. That was enough to make the team,” said Sica.
Getting used to longer bus rides to the courses, getting to know his new teammates, and his competition, are all things that Sica’s been able to take in stride.
“I just don’t really worry about what other people are doing. They’ll make their mistakes and I’ll make my mistakes,” he said.
With so many reasons to feel the pressure, it’s also important to remember that high school is a time for building comradery and that school sports like golf are about more than competition, they are a chance to have some fun.
“I like that it is slow and I like playing with everyone, not by myself,” said 9th grader Emily Landau, the youngest player on the Saratoga Springs girls’ varsity team.