Published in the October 18, 2019 edition.


NORTH READING — The Wakefield High golf team is off to states once again.

The Warriors punched their ticket with a 46-26 win over Wilmington last week at the Hillview Country Club in North Reading.

It is the second consecutive season that the Warriors will be competing as a team at the Div. 2 North sectional tournament.

“We’re very proud to make the tournament,” said Wakefield head coach Chris Keane. “The quality of golf in the Middlesex League is second to none, and so to be able to qualify with such a tough schedule is a big accomplishment.”

Wakefield finished the season at 7-6. The Warriors had a penchant for rising to the occasion in big matches. They played well in league play, but especially so against fellow Freedom Division foes Watertown, Stoneham, Burlington and Wilmington.

“We were able to go 4-1 on our side of the Middlesex League and I think that was a major reason for our success,” said Keane.

The Warriors won eight of their 10 individual matchups against the Wildcats with a few JV players getting a chance to play up at varsity. Ryan Marsh (5-4) and Ryan Tracy (5.5-3.5) won their first varsity matches.

Captain Jack Ryan shot a 35 to win his matchup 8.5-.5.

Fellow captain Oliver Miller won 6-3. Luke Hopkins won 5.5-3.5 and Howie Melanson won 5.5-3.5

Charlie Shea (5.5-3.5) and Jacob Barrett (6.5-2.5) were also victorious.

Wakefield will send their top six players to Far Corner Golf in Boxford for sectionals on Monday.

Ryan and Miller will be joined by fellow junior captain Cal Tryder. Juniors Hopkins and Melanson will also go, as will Luke Roberts, the only senior of the bunch.

“The six going to the tournament have played in the top six slots all year,” said Keane.

Also aiding the Warriors this year is being able to build off their experience from last season.

Four of the six played in last year’s tournament.

“Jack, Oliver, Calvin, and Luke Hopkins all played in the tournament last year, so I’m hoping that experience brings about more success,” said Keane.

“It’s difficult to play under the pressure that the state tournament brings – early tee times, often cold, wet conditions, unfamiliar course,” said the coach. “The kids will play a practice round on Sunday to familiarize themselves with Far Corner and hopefully that combined with last year’s experience will bring about positive results.”

As a team, Wakefield finished 16th out of the 20 teams last year.

Tryder finished with the best score for the Warriors as a sophomore last year, shooting an 86 for a +14. He was followed by Miller (89, +17), Hopkins (91, +19) and Ryan (91, +19).

The goal, as is usually the case on the golf course, is to improve.

In addition to the challenges of conditions and an unfamiliar course, a different style format means a more professional type of golf.

In sectional tournaments, the four lowest stroke play scores on each team will make up the team score.

Wakefield isn’t so worried about being one of the potentially four teams that can move on to state Team Finals. To succeed in a tournament like this, you must only challenge yourself.

“I’m not too concerned about our finish as we can’t control how other teams play. We just need to be concerned with ourselves,” said Keane. “With the stroke play format, we need to focus on our own game and see how it falls. I’m excited. The kids are excited. It should be fun.”