Jun 11, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What had been built, for nearly a decade, by the Fayetteville-Manlius girls golf team came to full fruition this spring.
In 17 matches in 2007, the Hornets were never beaten, a first in the program’s history. F-M also won the overall team and individual titles at the Section III championships on May 30 at Green Lakes State Park.
And in a fitting climax to the whole thing, senior Jillian Fraccola earned the state individual championship last weekend at Foxfire in Baldwinsville.
With a first-round 77, Fraccola worked her way into second place, one shot behind Jeanne Waters (Section XI, Sayville), who led with a round of 76.
F-M held its senior prom that night, but Fraccola left early, conserving her energy for the big 18 holes that lay ahead.
Playing with calm precision, Fraccola improved to a 75 on Sunday, as Waters shot 80. Dani Mullin (West Islip) shot her own 75, but finished second, one shot behind as, with a total of 152, Fraccola earned the state championship. Oswego’s Corrin Conroy (155) finished third.
This proved to be the ideal climax to a dream season where the Hornets, both on a team and individual basis, met with nothing but victory.
Under head coach Anne Miller and assistant Tom Chaddock, F-M had flirted with perfection the previous four years. During that time, the Hornets went 48-6, capped off by a 13-1 record in 2005 and a 12-1 mark in ’06.
This time around, the Hornets had a peculiar mix on its roster. It didn’t have any freshmen or sophomores, meaning that older players (juniors and seniors) would need to blend in with a group of seven girls still in seventh or eighth grade.
The two players at the top symbolized this blend. Fraccola was a senior, bound for Richmond University, but she was pushed all year by eighth-grader Alex Seabury, already among the top talents in the area.
Behind them, junior Ali Wakefield experienced vast improvement, and senior captains Lindsey Simmons and Sarah Peck offered valuable support and depth any time F-M needed it against tougher foes.
Elizabeth Barr, a senior in her fifth year on the team, led the rest of the cast that included improving seventh-grader Sara Simons, plus Cassia Brooks, Maria Mintskovsky, Elizabeth Barr, Adrianna Kam, Courtney Welsh, Carolyn O’Connor, Abby Boduch, Carly Kidd and Briana Winslow.
Starting in mid-March, the team began attending mandatory practices and walks. When foul weather hit, the Hornets went up to the Golf Dome in Clay to practice.
Miller and Chaddock had coaching help, too. Jack Conger worked with the girls on their pre-shot routine, set-up and alignment, while Marty Nowicki and Linda Mulherin also offered their services whenever time allowed. Nowicki also oversees the team’s group lessons during the summer.
Among themselves, the players had plenty of spirit-building initiatives, from “pride balls” with the Hornet logo given to the winner of practice competitions, to captain’s certificates handed out weekly by Fraccola, Simmons and Peck for various outstanding accomplishments.
F-M also got the benefit of playing on two courses. While most home matches were at Butternut Creek, it also played a pair of early home matches at the Cavalry Club, where it dusted off CBA and Whitesboro to move to 4-0 on the season.
What followed were two big obstacles to this perfect season. F-M met West Genesee at the Wildcats’ home course of Westvale and beat the Wildcats, 173-184, to tie a team record. Back home at Butternut Creek, the Hornets then scored 144 to beat the defending sectional champion Buccaneers, who had 152.
From there, the victories kept piling up, including a flawless 10-0 mark in league play. It culminated with a new Butternut Creek course record as the Hornets smashed Baldwinsville, 135-153. Right after that, they held the ‘B’ championship at Butternut Creek on May 24, and the Hornets won there, too, just to make things complete.
Even better play followed at the sectional tournament. Fighting off powers like CBA and Oswego, the Hornets claimed the team championship, another first for the program.
Fraccola led the way, shooting a 79 to earn the individual championship — and with it, an automatic berth in the Futures Tour’s Alliance Bank Classic, to be played July 20-22 at the Links at Erie Village.
Seabury, by tying for eighth place with an 89, joined Fraccola as they both qualified to compete in last weekend’s state championships.
As Fraccola worked her way to the top, Seabury made a nice comeback, too. She shot 90 in the opening round, but returned with an 84 on Sunday, finishing sixth among the nine Section III team members.
Combined, Section III finished second in the team competition, so Seabury came home with a silver medal to add to her growing collection.