Men’s golf narrowly missed a chance to return to NCAA Div. III Nationals as it fell to conference foe Middlebury by just one stroke at the NESCAC Championships last weekend. Trailing by 12 strokes after Day One, the men made a valiant comeback amidst frigid conditions on Day Two of competition before ultimately coming up just short of a repeat conference crown.
Last Saturday, the men began the weekend at Middlebury’s Ralph Myhre Golf Course by firing a team score of 311, finishing the day 12 strokes behind Middlebury, which shot a stellar 299 and one stroke behind Trinity, which sat at 310. Leading the Ephs was co-captain Cody Semmelrock ’14, who fired a steady four-over-par 75 in rainy and cold conditions. Not far behind was co-captain Dylan Dethier ’14 who fired a very respectable opening round of 78. Also contributing to the men’s total on Day One were co-captain Jake Abrahams ’14 and Grant Raffel ’17, who fired matching scores of 79. Although the Ephs were significantly behind the Panthers after Day One, they remained optimistic, determined to make up the 12-stroke difference.
On Day Two of play, the men played with incredible resilience and focus in absolutely abysmal conditions, including intermittent periods of freezing rain, sleet and wind chills in the 20s. Despite the weather, the men mounted a spirited comeback. Semmelrock continued his stellar play on Sunday and shot a 78 to place second individually with a combined score of 153. Matching Semmelrock’s score was the ever-steady Raffel. Dethier was also consistent, firing a 79. Rounding out the total on Day Two for the Ephs was Jake Goldenring ’15 with an 80. The men’s score on Day Two of 315 bested Middlebury’s 326, but was one shot short of clinching an Nationals berth and conference title.
“This past weekend was definitely a bit of a disappointment,” Semmelrock said. “All season we worked toward earning a bid to the NCAA Div. III National Championship by way of a NESCAC spring title. We had played very well leading up to the event, but unfortunately our play on Saturday was just a little too much to overcome.”
Middlebury’s victory clinches it a spot at Nationals and ends the season for the men. With the conclusion of the season, the Ephs graduate Semmelrock, Dethier, Abrahams, co-captain Ross Bowen ’14 and co-captain Matt McCarron ’14.
“Although our time is coming to a close, I am very optimistic about the future of our program, and I have high expectations for our underclassmen,” Semmelrock said. “They are going to make all the graduating seniors extremely proud.”