For the second consecutive year, the Bishop Hendricken golf team took home a second-place finish at the state championship last week at the Cranston Country Club, falling just one stroke short of the winner Wheeler.
The Hawks were led by Jared Lind, who finished the tournament with a 6th-place finish.
This Hendricken team had a new look coming into the season, losing multiple starters from last year including 2018 individual state champion Colin Sutyla. The Hawks faced some adversity in the early going, losing to East Greenwich which was their first regular-season loss in 85 matches.
However, they would continue to improve and build throughout the season, and emerged as one of the top two clubs in the state.
“Our whole focus this season was trying to build some depth in our roster and trying to close the gap from top to bottom. We lost a match for the first time in years to East Greenwich earlier in the year which was a wakeup call, but (by midseason) we began to feel like we had what it took to be a top-five team,” said Hendricken coach Rick Angeli. “Our goal going into the state championship was to play well enough on day 1 to be able to play and be close on day 2. We unfortunately did not have enough depth to compete with Wheeler. When you come up one stroke short, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. You can look back and think of the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, but you just can’t do that. Overall, we played well, I was proud of the way they shot.”
Wheeler jumped ahead of the Hawks by nine strokes after the first day of the two-day tournament. The Hawks surged on the second day though, and put Wheeler against the ropes in the final few holes.
“Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. Sometimes with the rain, cold win, it can be the difference between a few shots. But more than anything I think it was our guys not giving up, and telling them that it’s not over until the 18th hole,” said Angeli. “I see it year after year, teams have trouble finishing, especially once they get to the final two holes. We hammered that home with our guys this year, we had guys that had no quit. We just ran out of holes; we were the hottest team on the back nine.”
Angeli was proud of Lind’s performance, as well as the guys behind him in the lineup that stepped up in the clutch moments.
“He’s just been a steady guy, low-40 scorer for us. He was just in a zone; he had a day that we just needed. Some of our top guys struggled, but he was the sole reason that we were where we were on the back nine. Guys like him and Justin Richard, they do their thing. I knew I could count on them both days,” said Angeli.
The Hawks will now flip the page to 2020, and expect to be right back in the mix and competing with Wheeler in Cranston once again.
“We like the nucleus we have back. We lose some leadership in Jack Georgeu and Jared Lind. But we have Justin Richard who is steady, we have our No. 1 in Ricky Angeli who should have a big year as a junior. Harry Grimes, Rocco Biafore, we have four guys coming back and guys down at 7-9 that are ready to compete,” said Angeli. “Wheeler brings back a lot of guys so they’ll be good, but I think we will have the depth to compete with those guys. We’re looking forward to next year.”