Shiretown golfers to defend Class C title at state competition

13 years ago

ImageContributed photograph
SHIRE GOLFERS — Playing on the Houlton High School varsity golf squad are, from left, front, Zach Ritchie, Parker Sanderson, Logan Shaffer, Cole McLaughlin, Logan Holmes and Nick Chase; back, Doug Dickison, Gaige Flewelling, Alex Donovan, Ben Flewelling, Ian Gervais and Isaac Brown. Absent from the photograph is Ethan Quint.

By Gloria Austin
Staff Writer

    Houlton High School golfers will be defending their state Class C title this Saturday at Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro.
    The Shires have two state championships and three runner-up titles in the last five years.
     “We are senior laden with seven on the squad and have a lot of experience in tournament play,” said Houlton coach Marty Gervais. “I think, we are actually a better team in the 18-hole format as opposed to nine holes. The boys have become very patient and methodical in their play. They don’t make many poor decisions and look at the risk before taking a chancy shot.”
    Houlton golfers finished the season strong with a 10-2 record, with Presque Isle edging the Shires for both losses.
    At Presque Isle, the Shires shot a 158, which is an average score of less than 40 and Gervais thought his squad had won the match. But, Presque Isle came in with a 156, beating the Shires by two strokes, posting their best score of the season.
    In their second meeting of the season, the Shires rolled over Presque Isle at Houlton Community Country Club, beating them easily by more than 25 strokes.
    Then the two met again in a nine-hole match at JaTo to decide who would post the best record in the northern district of the Penobscot Valley Conference. The top four scores of each team tied posting a 159. In that case, the tie breaker goes to the fifth man, and Presque Isle again won by two strokes.
     “That was a tough bus ride home, knowing that Presque Isle would represent the north in the Penobscot Valley Championship,” said Gervais. “We regrouped and set our goals to post the best score at JaTo even though we would not play for the PVC championship. This is quite a task considering 23 teams compete and 13 are from Class B. We succeeded beating all 22 other teams.”
    The Shiretowners captured the Class C regional crown with an 18-hole score of 313, defeating George Stevens Academy, 356 and Penobscot Valley, 361.
    Presque Isle won Class B posting a 334 over Ellsworth, 342; Foxcroft Academy, 346 and Mattanawcook Academy, 352.
    Though Houlton was unable to compete for the PVC championship, they shot better than any team competing at JaTo. The Shires shot 21 strokes better than rival Presque Isle.
     “Individually, the boys played well at the regionals with all four seniors making the top 23 which qualifies them for the state individuals,” said Gervais.
    Gaige Flewelling shot a 74 at regionals, which landed him in first place for the tournament and low medalist.
    “Gaige has put a lot effort into his short game and it shows,” Gervais said. “He scrambles better than any player on the team. His ability to get up and down saved several strokes at JaTo. I believe Gaige is ready for states and will post a better score than last year.”
    Ian Gervais shot a 76 giving him a top five finish at the regionals.
     “Ian has been our anchor all year playing in the number one slot, and finishing the regular season with an average of 38,” said coach Gervais. “Ian is very long and straight off the tee. If his short game is on, he is capable of a sub-par round.”
    Nick Chase shot a 79 at JaTo Highlands regional match, which was good enough for a top 10 finish.
     “Nick started out the year not playing to his potential, but has since moved up to the number two slot shooting a 37 and medaling his second to last regular season match,” Gervais explained.  “Nick has worked hard spending a lot of extra time at the range getting his game where it needs to be. If Nick’s driver is on, I can count on him to post a low score.”
    Logan Shaffer shot an 84 at regionals, qualifying him for individual play.
     “Logan is very accurate on the tee, but has run into some problems around the green,” Gervais said. “I expect he will work hard on his short game this week and be ready for the weekend. Logan has a great temperament. It takes quite a bit to rattle his game. He handles pressure very well.”
    Houlton’s fifth player, Parker Sanderson missed the individual cut by one stroke.
     “Parker’s putter left him that day,” explained Gervais. “He played well, but just couldn’t finish holes.     He is a competitor and I feel he will be ready to play this weekend at the states.”
    Sanderson has played well through the season, according to his coach.
     “He works through his problems at the range and is very experienced in tournament play,” Gervais added. “Parker finished the year with a 41 average and will anchor the team next year.”
    Individual qualifiers are: Flewelling (Houlton) 74, Connor Morey (Deer Isle-Stonington) 75, Dan MacKenzie (Stearns) 75, A.J. Harris (Lee) 75, Gervais (Houlton) 76, Greg Martin (Ellsworth) 76, Taylor Fournier (Hermon) 77, Zach Evans (Foxcroft) 77, Chase (Houlton) 79, Evan Waddell (Presque Isle) 79, Brody Libby (Penobscot Valley) 80, Jasper Adam (George Stevens) 81, Sam Grindle (DI-Stonington) 82, Alex Chasse (Fort Kent) 82, Marshall Foster (PV) 83, John McEwen (John Bapst) 83, Shaffer (Houlton) 84, Ben Walls (MDI) 84, Travis Dyer (PI) 84, Matt Kamm (Caribou) 85, Sam Peabody (Old Town) 85, Jordan Hallett (PI) 85, Adam Flynn (PI) 86; girls: Ali Prescott (FK) 97, Jamie Muth (JB) 108.
     “As a coach, the only problem I have with this team is the depth of the talent,” Gervais said. “We have a squad that is loaded with talent.”
    Rounding out the Houlton golf lineup are seniors Zach Ritchie,  Ethan Quint and Logan Holmes.
     “Ethan and Logan filled the sixth and seventh spots with averages of 46 and 47. Typically, a 47 average is good enough for a number three spot on a squad,” Gervais explained. “Ethan had a season low score of 44 at Fort Kent, while Logan’s low score for the year was a 42, which was the fourth best of the day. Zach is a great player. I give him credit. He worked hard throughout the regular season and lowered his average by three shots.“
    Capping the squad are juniors Isaac Brown and Doug Dickison, along with sophomores Alex Donovan and Cole McLaughlin.
     “Isaac has improved throughout the year and posted a 47 at his last season match,” Gervais said. “He has a great attitude and with a little work will post lower scores next year. Doug is a player with little experience, but plenty of raw talent. As a first-year player, Doug finished the year with a 49 average, and will be an asset to the team next year.
     “Cole will be ready for a starting slot next year,” said Gervais. “He is full of enthusiasm for the game and plays every chance he gets. Cole’s swing has developed and his game has improved consistently throughout the year, as he posted his season low score of 44 at his last match of the year. Alex is one of the hardest working golfers on the squad and it shows. He finished the year with a 47 average and played as high as number eight during the regular season.”
    “Our team expectations are high going into the state tournament,” Gervais said. “We are a very good team, but the competition is equally as good.”
    Saint Dominic Academy of Auburn has won state titles two of the last three years in Class C, with Houlton edging them out by four shots last year.
     “We are very deep, experienced, and highly motivated,” said Gervais. “I believe we are ready to play.”