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THS Golf Team Goes After another NVL Title. By John Torsiello

POSTED April 04, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


The Torrington boys golf team look to remain a dominant force in 2011. Pictured are (left to right), Matthew Rosengrant, Nicholas Tedesco, Aaron Nedorostek and head coach Joe Minutillo.

By, JOHN TORSIELLO

The Torrington High School golf program has built a history of success that few scholastic teams in Litchfield County can rival.

During head coach Joe Minutillo’s long 28-year tenure, the Raiders have won close to 20 Naugatuck Valley League or NVL Tournament titles, and this in a league that is extremely competitive at the top year in and year out.

“For the first six years of my career or so we were rebuilding and didn’t have the kids to win,” said Minutillo, whose club will once again be a favorite to take home NVL honors this spring. “Once the membership at Torrington Country Club accepted the kids and promoted them being there the team took off and it’s been flourishing ever since.”

The coach said changing perceptions at TCC was paramount.

“I can remember we would roll in with a bus load of kids and the members would shake their heads. But we dressed the kids well, the members saw that they could play and knew how to behave on a course and they represented their school and the club with style. The members started changing their attitudes and now they welcome the kids and love having them there. The pro there, Greg Carlson, has been great with the kids, working with them and teaching them the game. It’s one of the big reasons why we have been able to be so successful over the past two decades.”

He added, “Plus Torrington is a very difficult course and if a kid can learn to play there he can play anywhere.”

Torrington Country Club allows members of the Torrington team to play for free during the high school season with many youngsters taking an inexpensive junior membership and continuing to play at TCC the entire year.

“The fact that they are playing at Torrington all year and also playing in junior tournaments around the state also has made them very good golfers. The competition has been good for them.”

Minutillo said that the team has received strong support from parents, many of whom belong to Torrington Country Club (and other clubs) and who promote golf to their children.

“I’ve also had some great players over the years, kids like Justin, Taylor and Mike Griffin, Brent Silano and Tommy Pollack. Some kids, like Scott Mattiello (head pro at Greenwoods Country Club in Winsted), Jamie Giampaolo, who is playing golf at Coastal Carolina and Corey Mueller who is a pro in New York, have gone on to careers in golf.”

Where once tryouts attracted between 30 to 35 aspirants, Minutillo said the turnout in recent years has been between 10 and a dozen hopefuls.

“The golf boom and Tiger Woods had something to do with so many kids coming out at one time and now golf is in a bit of a decline. And also the fact that we have become so good that a kid knows he has to shoot in the 30’s to play.”

Minutillo is an equal opportunity coach. Just because you’re a fresh-faced freshman doesn’t mean you won’t play a key role on the team, as long as you can play.

“If freshmen can help the team they won’t sit. I also have a junior varsity team where the top five kids will play varsity and another three will play a junior varsity match against the other school. It keeps kids involved and learning the game.”

The Raiders will be a formidable team in 2011. One of the top players in the state, Mike Griffin has graduated, but THS has some very strong players returning.

Senior Matthew Rosengrant, All-NVL a year ago, will likely start as the team’s number one player with junior Nicholas Tedesco a close number two.

“I’m expecting big things from Nick and I believe he can be a really good player.”

Aaron Nedorostek, a junior, will be the team’s number three, with a pair of sophomores, Ben McKenna and Seth Thompson, figuring in the four and five spots.

“I’ve also got some freshmen who are pretty good but it is too early to tell if they will make an impact,” said the coach, who will retire from teaching this year but intends to continue coaching.

“I’m sticking with the team because I love what I do and the kids are super to work with.”

Minutillo figures Holy Cross, Watertown and Wolcott will be the other top teams in the NVL this year. The Crusaders won both the regular season and tournament crowns in 2010.

“It will be a dogfight again with four teams involved and it will go down to the wire.”

The one glory that has escaped Minutillo and his teams has been a state title. He’s some close, finishing second at states and has seemingly always been among the top five or six teams. But no gold yet.

“We had a few teams that we figured would win but it was always something, a bad day, a big score on a hole, another team shoots lights out. But we have always been very representative at states.”

Once the cold weather and snow finally abates, the Raiders are eager to hit the fairways and take home yet another NVL championship.

“We will be very competitive,” said Minutillo in a decided understatement.

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