Despite the wind, rain, and almost freezing temperatures the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) Blue Eagles Golf Team persevered and remained as resilient as ever, securing the team’s first ever Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship win.
“The conditions were extremely challenging as it was barely above 0 C both days with crazy winds. This made the course play extremely tough,” says Oscar Feschuk, Grade 11 student and member of the Blue Eagles Golf Team.
This is the second OFSAA golf championship that Feschuk has competed in.
“It was different this time because I’m better now, and we had a much better and deeper team,” he says. “This time, I expected more out of myself at the event.”
The championship team included Feschuk, Luca Cimoroni (Grade 10), Domenic De Luca (Grade 11), and Ben Hirasawa (Grade 11). Grade 11 student, Owen Gauder is also a member of the golf team but did not compete at OFSAA.
The two-day tournament took place at Kingsville Golf & Country Club on October 16 and 17.
“It was very close,” says Paul Ruta, teacher at SMCS and one of the golf team’s coaches. The Blue Eagles started day one off strong, ending the day with a three-shot lead ahead of the competition. However, on day two with cold temperatures and strong winds, coaches Ruta, Nunzio Corrente, and Michael Ross ’86 “started to see the lead evaporate as other teams were playing very aggressively through 15 holes.”
The Blue Eagles were tied with St. Mary Catholic Secondary School (St. Mary’s) from Cobourg as they headed into the hardest ranked hole of the week – the 16th hole (Par 3, 175 yard). Feschuk sprayed his tee shot and made a difficult double bogey.
Meanwhile on the 17th hole, De Luca made a huge save from the sand trap for par. Feschuk hit his drive left into the trees. He took the conservative route and hit his second shot from the trees to the 100-yard marker, landing his ball on the front of the green. His 100-yard shot hit the flag stick and dropped in for an eagle, getting SMCS back in the lead!
Hirasawa, on the 18th hole, made a big par save finishing a solid round with a score of 76. Shortly after, Cimoroni teed off on the 18th hole. He hit a tough chip shot to 10 feet leaving him with a must-make putt to limit the damage when St. Mary's birdied on the 17th. Cimoroni sunk the 10-foot putt for par, receiving a score of 76 and securing the first ever Ontario Golf Championship for the Blue Eagles!
“Not one single player stood out,” says Ruta. “It was a total team effort. Everyone contributed on both days of the tournament which helped us capture the crown.”
Leading up to the championship, Ruta says he had the chance to speak with SMCS alumnus and decorated Team Canada track & field athlete, Justyn Knight ’14 and asked him for some advice.
“He affirmed what we as coaches have been breathing to these boys since they picked up a golf club for the Blue Eagles – ‘Believe in yourself and your abilities to achieve your goal,’” quotes Ruta.
“Coaching high school golf is 10 per cent technical and 90 per cent mental,” says Ruta. “These guys have finally reached the age and level of experience with us to believe in themselves and trust the process.”
The team’s outstanding win also cements their place in the National High School Golf Invitational at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina in June 2020!
“OFSAA was a great experience. It is a great tournament,” says Feschuk. “But, what is special is that it has a team element, which is very rare in golf and a ton of fun. It was also a ton of fun to be on the road with three of my friends. It was a special week.”