THS Golfers Young and Improving...By John Torsiello.
This has been an uncharacteristic spring for Torrington High School golf coach Joe Minutillo.
The mentor, who was recently inducted into the Torrington High School Sports Hall of Fame for his long (30th year) and successful tenure with the Raiders, will probably not be able to bring home another Naugatuck Valley League regular season or tournament title, something THS has done a combined 33 times.
“We have had a great run during the last 20 years,” said Minutillo, whose team finished second behind Watertown last year and has three league losses this year, to the Indians as well as Wolcott and Holy Cross. “The three teams that we have lost to are the cream of the crop but we were very competitive with them. We lost by a few shots to Wolcott and Watertown and lost by something like a dozen shots to a very good Holy Cross squad at Western Hills. When we played Watertown at Torrington Country Club, we were tied after our first two guys came in but they got us in the third and fourth positions.”
The Raiders are a young team (eight members of the roster are either freshmen or sophomores), one that Minutillo is grooming for the future, which he believes looks bright. One of his top players is only a freshman, Tylar Young, who has been playing in the number three spot and turning in scores consistently around 40 (for nine holes).
“He’s an excellent freshman and will be a very good player the next three years for us. He shot a 39 and was medalist in a recent match against Crosby and Wilby at East Mountain Golf Course and he has been averaging around 40 or 41 all season. He is very dedicated to the game and visits and plays at the courses where we have away matches to prepare for them.”
Seniors Ben McKenna and Seth Thompson have been playing the numbers one and two spots and doing a fine job this spring. Both are averaging around 40 and been rocks at the top of the lineup. McKenna’s best round was a 38 in a non-league match against Plainville early in the season at Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington. Thompson has shot 39 twice, against Naugatuck at Torrington Country Club and against Watertown at TCC.
The number four spot has been held down by Dallas Summa, a junior, who is averaging around 41, and the fifth man has been junior Nick LaMothe, who saw considerable playing time last year and has been scoring in the mid 40’s this season. Summa’s best round has been 45, which he shot against Plainville and St. Paul Catholic at TCC, while LaMothe had a 46 twice, against Woodland at TCC and Watertown at home. Tyler Yurgalevicz, a sophomore, has also scored for Torrington this season.
“McKenna and Thompson are really good seniors and Dallas didn’t play many matches for us last year but improved a lot over the summer and moved up. Nick saw a lot of time last year and played in the NVL Tournament.”
The one thing that has eluded Minutillo during his illustrious career at Torrington has been a state title. The Raiders have come as close as second.
“It probably won’t happen this year,” said the coach. “But we are slowly getting better as the season has gone on and that’s with a younger team than we have had in the past. Maybe we can knock somebody off at the NVL tournament. You never know.”
Minutillo gives much credit to Torrington Country Club and head pro Glen Carlson for the Raiders’ fine play season after season.
“Greg works with the kids and most of the team are members at the country club. They actually have a special this year where two juniors can join for $680, which means its $340 for each. That allows them to play all summer and it shows up in their results, plus the club is benefitting by encouraging kids to become future adult members.”
The Raiders have a couple of matches this week, against Kennedy and Sacred Heart, and then take on Wolcott at home next Tuesday and Holy Cross at TCC two days later, before finishing up with Holy Cross at TCC May 21. The NVL Tournament will be held May 30 at Watertown Golf Club.
There may not be a title in the offing this season but the scrappy Raiders will give it their all.