Hard work and preparation can pay off greatly, as evident by the Springfield College golf team’s performance throughout the 2018 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Golf Championship.
For the first time since 2012, the Pride won the NECC and did so with 305 strokes and a 16 stroke lead ahead of Elms College after Saturday’s championship event. The accomplishment has come after placing second behind the Babson College Beavers the past three years.
The Pride’s dominant performance carried on throughout Sunday as well, defeating Elms by 20 strokes. Junior Mike Strong posted an impressive 74 on day one and 75 the following day to finish the championship with a total of 149. The team captain was very consistent, and had a lot of praise for his teammates.
“I’m super proud, especially of Jake (Raichle) and Joe (Piwowarski). Jake Raichle had a great weekend” said Strong.
Raichle, a sophomore, won NECC Golfer of the Year after totaling seven birdies and playing the par 4’s at +2, which were the best results over the weekend. Sophomore Joe Piwowarski also earned all-conference honors along with Strong to conclude the triumphant weekend. The players weren’t the only ones to receive honors. After winning the title for the third time, head coach Joe Eadie went on to be named NECC Coach of the Year.
“I’m thankful that I got it, but the players earned it,” said Eadie on receiving the award. “Overall the team had a great weekend. The goal was to win and we did. We played well, we had a 16 shot lead, and no one backed up.”
Eadie’s coaching may have been award worthy, but it wasn’t the only source of leadership for the team.
“Mike Strong was a team leader” said Eadie. “When other players were down on themselves, he picked them up.”
Strong isn’t the team captain for nothing. His ability to help his teammates any way he can is just another factor he brings to the team.
“I feel like all the guys look up to me, and I kind of take ownership in that,” said Strong on his leadership role. “We joke around and have fun, but I feel like when it’s tournament time we focus.”
After the big conference championship win, the team looks on to what’s ahead of them next. The Pride will be teeing off on Oct. 6 for the Blazer Fall Invitational at the Hickory Ridge Golf Club.
Photo courtesy of Springfield Athletics