Varsity Boys Golf Earns Victories Leading To State
Winning the 2021 Class 5 District Championship, in addition to ranking high at multiple tournaments this year, makes the varsity boys golf team a strong competitor leading to the state tournament.
As a younger golfer on the team, Ryan Hopwood, sophomore, said each golfer, no matter their age, has contributed to the success of the team due to their teamwork mentality.
“Although golf is a singular sport, we usually play as a team,” Hopwood said.
The team placed fourth at the Old Kinderhook Invitational, third at the Crowne Pointe Invitational, first at the Rockwood Quad, and first at the Conference Tournament on Wednesday, May 5.
Hopwood said the Forest Park Scramble was his most memorable victory. He, along with his sophomore teammate Jake Walsh, won their scramble division with a -7 score. He said the victory felt more fulfilling due to it being his first high school tournament and winning alongside a friend.
In order to be successful in his tournaments, Hopwood said he focuses on remaining calm and staying on top of decision making throughout the match.
“Knowing when and when not to take risks in golf is a big part of the game,” Hopwood said. “Sometimes in matches, you have to make different decisions based on the situation.”
Hopwood said a combination of talent, previously formed teammate bonds and strong coaching contributes to the victories throughout the season.
In his final year of high school golf, Blake Mazzola, senior, has improved his game throughout his high school career and will be continuing his success into college for Drury University.
Mazzola placed second in the Webster Cup, scoring an even par 72, and making the individual playoffs for the tournament for two consecutive years. He said only a few people have won the tournament consecutively.
The Webster Cup tournament includes 140 golfers, and Mazzola said that amount of competition posed the biggest challenge on his path to victory.
“I’m just happy I had a good run,” Mazzola said.
In order to overcome a difficult match, Mazzola said he focuses on mentally slowing the game down in order to strategize about one shot at a time in order to have the lowest score.
“We have a lot of solid players on the team, and we all have potential of going low in tournaments,” Mazzola said.
Eric Schweain, varsity golf coach, admires the players’ ability to overcome the setback of COVID-19 and build on their success from the previous season.
Schweain said the most difficult competitors for the team across the state are Rockhurst, Poplar Bluff, Chaminade and St. Louis University High School (SLUH), but MHS can compete with the talent of those teams due to their dedication.
“On any given day, I would put our players against their teams toe to toe,” Schweain said. “I do believe our best golf is still in front of us this season.”
In order to improve their players, the coaches fill their schedule with challenging teams and courses. Placing fourth in Old Kinderhook Invitational was a huge success for the team, Schweain said, as the tournament included the top 28 teams from around the state.
During their practice time between events, Schweain said he emphasizes the fundamentals of golf to his athletes in order to remind them of the mental aspect of the game.
On Monday, May 18, the team tied for fifth in the State Tournament, their final match of their successful season.
Annie McGinnis, junior, is the Co-Sports Editor for the Messenger. She plays Varsity field hockey and is a member of the National Honor Society. Outside...