The Jefferson Community College men’s golf team is looking to build on last year’s success at the NJCAA nationals.
The Cannoneers will compete once again in the NJCAA Division III National golf tournament Tuesday through Friday at the Chautauqua Golf Club hosted by Jamestown Community College in Western New York. It will be the second consecutive year the team has reached the national tournament and the team realizes how big of an achievement it is.
“I’m super excited to be playing in this event,” Nate Heller said. “It’s the biggest tournament of the year.”
JCC players like former South Lewis standout Sam Arrigo and former General Brown products Heller and Nick Lennox have played the course a few times thanks to regional and national tournaments in Chautauqua. They hope this experience will lead to good scores this week.
“The guys are little more familiar with the course than most since they’ve played it a bunch,” JCC golf coach Joe Vaadi said. “They know what to expect at this point.”
JCC knows that winning a team title will be difficult because it doesn’t get a chance play year-round like other schools in the tournament, due to the harsh winters. However, the Cannoneers are still hoping to improve on the team’s sixth place showing from last season’s event.
“Last year we had a really solid team, but I think we can do better this time,” Lennox said.
Arrigo added, “We’re hoping to get maybe fourth or fifth place.”
Vaadi said the teams to watch are defending champion Sandhills Community College of North Carolina, Georgia Military College and Minnesota State Tech. Minnesota State Tech has finished in the top five in the last nine tournaments. However, the JCC golfers enjoy playing against golfers that have played well the entire season.
“I love playing against players like that,” said Arrigo, who finished 28th in last year’s individual national tournament “You only get better playing against tougher competition.”
The Cannoneers’ depth has helped them make a repeat appearance. Arrigo and Lennox have been battling for the top spot, but other JCC golfers have been solid contributors to this season. Cole Morrisette of Carthage finished fourth at the Region 3 tournament on May 14 and 15. Heller and former South Jefferson golfer Logan Hess have also chipped in with solid rounds and given the lineup flexibility.
“The nice thing about this group is that they’re all starting to play better,” Vaadi said. “Cole Morrisette had a heck of a tournament at regionals and Nate (Heller) and Sam (Arrigo) have been flip-flopping among themselves for the top spot.”
Scores have come down in recent weeks due to the weather finally warming up and the courses are playing faster. The weather in the early part of the season was plagued by wet weather.
“The weather is such a huge factor early in the season,” Lennox said. “It’s basically like playing on mud.”
Jefferson CC’s team consists completely of Frontier League golfers. They are hoping to show that the league has improved its quality of play in recent seasons.
“I think making nationals again shows that we have some good golfers in the Frontier League,” Heller said.
Clarkson University has hired Ally Burrows to coach the school’s women’s lacrosse team after head coach Ben Gaebel stepped down after 10 seasons.
Burrows, from Marcellus, has been an assistant for the Clarkson program for three years. She played lacrosse for Division II Indiana University in Pennsylvania.
Gaebel, a Carthage High School graduate, led Clarkson to its most success in women’s lacrosse over the past decade, posting an 86-63 mark since 2013. Gaebel, who has been assistant athletic director at Clarkson the last three years, stepped away to focus on administrative duties.