By Joyce Erekson
Golf may not be the “first” sport for many of the players on the Classical High golf team, but you wouldn’t know it given the success the Rams enjoyed this fall.
The team, which is loaded with hockey and baseball players, finished 12-4 overall and 11-3 in the Northeastern Conference South, which was good enough to earn a tie with Saugus for the No. 2 spot (Salem finished first).
Coach Jack Morrison, who has been at the helm for a decade, said the team has been steadily improving the the past few years. Senior captains Travis Ryan and Sean Devin, who are both four-year players and members of the Lynn Jets hockey team, were fixtures at the top of the lineup this season. Devin also plays baseball, as do A.J. Luciano and Brett Bucklin. Luciano and Bucklin were on the Babe Ruth World Series team that went to South Dakota in 2016. Brendan Lannon and Tim Nerich also cracked the Rams’ top six with sophomore Nerich having a ver impressive season. He moved around the lineup, but got the job done wherever he went. He had a 12-0-2 record. Lannon was a solid player in the three or four spot.
Morrison called on four other players, Kyle McCarthy, Luke Rao, Andrew Patrie and Sean Finnegan to rotate throughout the rest of the lineup.
“They’re a good bunch of kids,” Morrison said. “That’s half the battle when you’re coaching. They kind of paid attention and it paid off.”
Morrison said the team took its lumps the past few years, making this year’s success all the sweeter.
“First we were getting thumped,” Morrison said. “Then we were getting beat, but not too bad. Then we started giving teams a run for their money and we finished about .500. This year we kind of broke through.”
Morrison, said he has been fortunate to have a good turnout (about 20 players) at tryouts the past few years. That has allowed for a junior varsity program, which is coached by Classical teacher Kevin Kennedy.
“We’ve been on a little bit of a roll. I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but it’s been good,” Morrison said. “I think it’s a good case of hard work and good senior leadership that paid off.”
Although the Rams finished sixth at the Northeastern Conference meet, Morrison said the team was only a couple of shots off third place. Devin and Ryan were named NEC second team all-stars.
Morrison said he has a couple of players who are junior members at Gannon Golf Course, but he said the kids are very busy, playing hockey and baseball, some of them year-round.
“They’re athletes and they’re pretty good at what they do,” Morrison said. “We try to get them out there (golfing). We try and get them to caddy at the golf course and get as close to the game as possible.”