Tigers Finish in Third at States
The Hand boys’ golf team finished out the 2022 season by earning a third-place finish at the Division I State Championship meet last week. With several of the Tigers returning for next year, Head Coach Jim Holleran is feeling good about the potential of his program.
Hand competed in the Division I State Championship at Stanley Golf Course on June 6, finishing in third place among 17 teams with an overall score of 323. Coach Holleran’s squad was striving for a top-three performance. With some extra motivation from their fifth-place finish at the SCC Championship, the Tigers achieved their goal behind some consistent play from everyone in the lineup.
“We wanted to play more to our ability. The guys weren’t very happy with how they played at the SCC Tournament. I didn’t have to say a word to them,” Holleran said. “I could tell from the bus ride home that they were very determined. They were going to work to play better. I felt good going into the State Tournament. I knew we would play well.”
Junior captain Reece Scott led the way for Hand at states by recording an 18-hole score of 73 to finish in a tie for third place. Fellow junior Matt Gagliardi finished in a tie for 14th place with a score of 79. Freshman Matt McManus scored an 85 to finish in a tie for 30th place, senior captain David Ginsburg was tied for 34th place with an 86, and sophomore Kasimir Lesnick also posted a score of 86 to finish in a tie for 34th.
Outside of Ginsburg, everyone in Hand’s lineup will be returning for next season. The Tigers’ third-place showing at states showed Coach Holleran that the hard work of his golfers is paying off now and will continue to reap benefits in the future.
“It sets us up really nicely for next season. It showed that all the hard work was worthwhile. We could have just let it slide, but we didn’t,” said Holleran, whose team went 10-5 in the regular season. “The guys just kept working right until the last day. It set a good tone. It showed that we can be a very good team. Everyone was committed to improving over the summer. Hopefully, we’ll make another run next season.”
Things didn’t always go smoothly for Hand this year. Coach Holleran said that the team struggled at the beginning of the season, but was pleased to see everyone work together to get past those speed bumps. Holleran noted Hand’s road match against Morgan on May 11 as a turning point for the Tigers. The team arrived at Clinton Country Club early and practiced for and hour and a ½ before the match. Holleran believes that type of dedication is what propelled his club to a strong finish to the campaign.
“Early on, we were really struggling. We had some real struggles. We were determined that we were much better than that,” Holleran said. “There was growth. There was maturity as we went along. They reached an understanding that nothing comes without hard work. They put the hard work in, and they were rewarded.”
Coach Holleran attributed part of Hand’s growth to the efforts of this year’s captains, Ginsburg and Scott. Holleran said that both captains always did a great job of relaying information from him to their teammates. As a result, the Tigers’ practices were well-attended and lively. Holleran credits his captains for serving as strong role models and setting an excellent example for what he wants his program to be.
“They were both great leaders for the program. The communication with the team was exceptional. I would send them emails on who was starting or what we needed to do in practice, and they would notify everybody on the team,” said Holleran. “We had great attendance and enthusiasm at practice. I owe it all to them. They really communicated expectations with the team. They were great role models.”
Coach Holleran said that all 12 players on Hand’s roster played a role in the team’s success this year. Regardless of whether they were playing varsity, Holleran appreciates how everyone worked together to make the team better. As they all started to believe in one another, Holleran saw the Tigers make major improvements on the links.
“They truly do care about each other. They’re not just involved with their individual scores. They’re really pulling for each other. We had a great team feeling throughout the entire 12 guys,” Holleran said. “Everybody on the team was important, whether they were playing in varsity matches or not. They were all involved. Everybody looked out for each other. They’re a great group of guys. It was a very rewarding season.”
A few days after the state meet, Scott represented Hand when he participated in the State Open Championship. Scott finished in a tie for 21st place with a score of 86 at the Black Hall Club on June 11.
With his team only graduating two seniors, Coach Holleran feels that Hand had a great opportunity to improve on its placement in states next season. Holleran is looking for the returning Tigers to keep working on their games over the summer and come back ready to show everyone just how good the Hand boys’ golf team can be.
“Look at how we did in the State Tournament. These are the guys we’re going to have back next year,” said Holleran. “If they improve, we can move up next year. If everyone can get better, we can shave some strokes off the 323 total and maybe get into first or second place in the states.”
The athletes on the Hand boys’ golf team are senior captain David Ginsburg; senior Charlie McIntyre; junior captain Reece Scott; juniors Jonathan Dolph, Matt Gagliardi, and Owen Stuart; sophomores Cameron Becker, Kasimir Lesnik, Singewald Maxwell, and Nicholas Osterling; and freshmen Michael Mariano and Matt McManus.