With the Inter-Ac Championship and a historical season under their belts, the golf team looks to add to their success during the coveted match against Episcopal Academy. Under the leadership of Golf Program Director Mr. Stephen Cloran, Coaches Andrew Franz, Brooke Kenna, and Bhelly Bagbonon, and Sixth Form Captains Alex Nemo, John Rouse, and Quin Bongiovanni, the team has all the tools to achieve their goal.
Haverford golf has worked hard for an undefeated season, thanks to its players’ raw talent and amazing leadership. Inside the golf team, the captains, who consist of the most experienced Sixth Formers, help to build the team’s bond both on and off the course. While Coach Cloran still plays a role in team mechanics, he leaves many team-bonding exercises up to the captains and instead serves as a pillar of support and leadership.
“When I led our first team meeting and met our captains—Alex Nemo, John Rouse, and Quin Bongiovanni—it was clear this group led by those guys was already close and committed to serving each other and doing whatever it took for the good of the group,” Coach Cloran wrote in an email.
“Our team dinners organized by Mrs. Rouse, Mrs. Nemo, and Mrs. Bongiovanni were great ways to grow closer together off of the course by sharing a tremendous meal together!” Mr. Cloran said.
The team’s camaraderie is one of the major factors contributing to the golf team’s success this year. Sixth Form co-captain Alex Nemo has witnessed firsthand the team’s many strengths.
“So far this season, we’ve been undefeated in out-of-league matches. We won three Inter-Ac invitationals and won the Inter Ac,” Nemo said. “We also had six of our eight varsity players go to a match play tournament the other day at Waynesborough, and we had three first team all Inter-Ac players, as well as three-second team, so it’s been a good season so far.”
The strengths of the team are exemplified by their outstanding track record this season. However, coaches must remind the team to stay on their toes to keep their success rate high.
“It’s been a fun season for sure. From team dinners to team meetings, practices, to matches, this group came together and truly cultivated a positive group dynamic and we had fun doing all of it this season,” Coach Cloran wrote. “Since we earned the Inter-Ac Championship, we have a ton of strengths, but because we committed to staying humble and hungry, we always looked to get better at whatever we struggled in during the most recent match.”
For a team or individual to find constant success, they need to perform at the peak of their abilities at all times. Though players have bad days, staying vigilant and pushing through during every match sets Haverford apart from the rest of the Inter-Ac schools. Both the captains and coaches can assess the team’s need for improvement in certain areas, and with the respect they command, implement change into the team for the EA Day match.
“I think it’s pretty easy to get complacent and a bit cocky after winning when a team has such a good season,” Nemo said. “So I think we just need to go in level headed, but obviously have confidence, but to not get carried away.”
“I expect this year’s match to come down to just a few strokes. We’ll have to be at our best at Gulph Mills to beat EA.”Golf Program Director Mr. Stephen cloran
EA Day is the team’s last match of this season. From a coaching perspective, it is the culmination of the team’s hard work during the rest of the season, and they hope to guide their players to success.
“Given the deep talent pool of the Inter-Ac, not getting too high after a win or too low after a loss was our biggest challenge. Through the many highs and few lows, if we hadn’t maintained a high level of focus for every match, every hole, and every swing, we would not have earned the League Championship trophy,” Coach Cloran wrote.
And Coach Cloran expects a similar demonstration of talent in competition with EA.
“I’ve been blessed to be around team sports and rivalries my whole life, and our rivalry with EA is right up there at the top of my list in terms of the tradition and the competitive spirit between the two schools. I expect this year’s match to come down to just a few strokes,” Mr. Cloran said. “We’ll have to be at our best at Gulph Mills to beat EA.”