AVON, May 9 – Avon High girls golf coach Patrick Welkey knew he had some talent on his team this spring. He just didn’t know how much. The Falcons began the season with just three of five starters from last year’s team that won a school record 18 matches and won the Southern Connecticut Girls Golf League tournament.
Led by All-State sophomore Marissa Grillo, who has been the individual medalist in seven of nine matches, the Falcons have rolled to a 13-0 start, including a victory by 17 strokes over two-time defending league champion Cheshire.
“What is nice about this year is they don’t feel the individual pressure to get that low score for each other,” Welkey said. “They have teammates that can help them out.”
Each of Avon’s top four golfers – Grillo, senior Alexa Gentile, junior Alana Pulling and sophomore Catherine Ponziani each have nine-hole scores in the 40s. Gentile was the medalist with a 46 in the rain Tuesday in a 200-221 win over Mercy and a 200-223 win over Newington. Sophomore Anna Grant is the team’s No. 5 golfer and all five are contributing.
Avon (13-0, 8-0 SCGGL) set a new school record with a low match score of 175 in a 175-221 win over Daniel Hand in late April at Madison Golf Course. At that match, Grillo set a new course record by shooting par 35. Avon has scored under 200 in six of nine matches. “The consistency has been there,” Welkey said.
Grillo has been solid all year. A year ago, she finished tied for ninth in New England with a 79, third among all golfers from Connecticut. She broke 40 just once in 2011. This year, she has broken 40 four times. “She is driven,” Welkey said.
Gentile, who was a second team All-SCGGL pick last year, struggled earlier in the season but has gotten more consistent, including her 46 last week against Mercy and Newington.
Avon is looking for its first outright league title. In 2010, the Falcons tied Cheshire for first place with a 10-2 record but Cheshire took home the trophy on point differential. Last year, Cheshire (11-0-1) finished one match ahead of the Falcons (10-1-1) in the league). The SCGGL’s post-season tournament is May 29 in Southington.