PITTSFIELD – Before its outing against MCI Thursday, the Nokomis golf team gathered on the driving range to warm-up as they always do. And as they often do this season, they greatly outnumbered their opponent.
“I have eight or nine guys that I can put in that top six spots, and no other teams really have that depth,” head coach Matt Brown said. “Some teams don’t even have nine or 10 golfers. I’ve got 16, so it’s been great.”
Brown has been leading the team for five years, but he’s never had a squad like this one. The Warriors entered Thursday 10-0, filled with a plethora of talent ranging from rising junior and team No. 1 Sam Smestad to a charging freshman in Lindsay Cote. Regardless of their opponents, the deep roster for Nokomis has allowed it to stay ahead and get on the fast track to a playoff run.
“When you’re winning, everything seems to taste better, feel better. Just more enjoyable,” Brown said.
Cote credits the team’s success this year not just to the depth, but the selflessness of the players. In a sport dominated by individual performance, she believes the willingness to benefit the entire unit has made Nokomis more cohesive.
“When you’re playing as a team and you want to be successful, you have to think about how you’re contributing to your team, not just how you’re contributing to yourself,” she said.
Not only do the Warriors sport 16 players, but many of them are multi-sport athletes. Palmyra Golf Course allowed the players to use the course for free over the summer, and with the natural competitiveness these athletes possessed, they took advantage of it.
“They hate to lose. And they’ve been successful at their other sports, and it’s really carried over into golf for us,” Brown said. Cote agreed with her coach, and credited the versatility of the athletes as a major reason for their success as well.
“It always helps with your mental game too. Like in basketball, you have to stay in the game no matter what,” she said. “And in golf, it’s the same way, you can’t fall apart mid-round or else it’s not going to be good for you or your team.”
The Warriors beat the Huskies 8-1 Thursday, finishing the regular season at 11-0. If they can make a run to states, it will be their first visit in nearly 20 years. So is this team capable of reaching the top?
“There’s no doubt about it,” the coach said. “If they play up to their level, we could really make a run this year.”