CANTON, June 10 – It’s has never been easy for the Canton High boys golf team this season. The Warriors came into the season hoping to contend for a NCCC championship. The first obstacle was losing three-time All-State senior Ryan Allen for the first month of the season as he recovered from breaking his leg last February.
A one-stroke loss to Granby on opening day didn’t help. Eventual league champion Coventry won the league title with back-to-back wins over Canton (12-3-1, 8-2-1 NCCC) and Avon in May on its home course.
At last week’s CIAC Division IV golf tournament, a battered Warriors team took the course at Timberlin Golf Course in Kensington. Junior Blayne Houlihan was under the weather but still played. Allen had a hole drilled into his thumbnail after accidentally getting his hand slammed in a car door over the weekend.
Still, Canton came home with the second place trophy, finishing 11 strokes behind Northwest Catholic of West Hartford, 314-325. It’s the best finish ever in team history. They had finished sixth a year ago.
Senior Brad Parliaman led the Warriors with a six-over-par 78, good enough to finish tied for third in the tournament. Senior James Solomon had a 79 while Houlihan shot an 83. Allen shot an 85 and junior David Roux scored an 86.
Northwest’s top two golfers Ryan Strid and Brendan Lemp each shot a 75 to win the tournament.
“I’m very proud of these guys,” Canton coach Bill Phelps said. “They did an outstanding job all year along. I’m ecstatic about about our golf team in Canton. We don’t have a golf course in town anymore.”
Canton played with three Catholic schools in the tournament, including Northwest Catholic. The Warriors beat Trinity Catholic-Stamford (340) and Immaculate-Danbury (345).
Parliaman earned All-State honors. Allen would have been named All-State but he didn’t compete in at least 10 matches during the season.
At the NCCC Tournament at Skungamung in Coventry, Canton was fourth with a 319. Ellington easily won the tournament with a 296. Suffield (314) and Coventry (317) finished ahead of Canton. Avon was a distant sixth with 328.
“It was the first time we’ve played 18 this year and we didn’t shoot well,” Phelps said. “We didn’t play the course well. We don’t like the narrow, short courses but it was a good lesson to help get ready for the state tournament.”
Parliaman, Houlihan and Allen each earned All-NCCC honors. Canton finished tied with Avon for third place in the league with an 8-2-1 record. Coventry (10-1) won the league title with Ellington (9-2) finishing second.
How challenging was the NCCC this season? Three league teams finished second in CIAC tournaments and six finished in the top five of their respective state tournaments.
Canton was second in Division IV, Granby was second in Division III and Avon was second in Division II. League champion Coventry was fourth in Division IV with a 330 while Suffield and Ellington were fourth and fifth, respectively in Division III.