Nordonia Knights golf teams find success through full team efforts

by Martin McConnell

It has been an eventful and successful season for both of Nordonia High School’s golf teams. Through a combination of consistency and a “next man up” mentality for each tournament, the Knights’ boys golf team was able to qualify for the district tournament, and the girls’ team became the first NHS golf team in school history to qualify for the state tournament.

Nordonia’s girls golf coach, Greg Harris, said much of this particular team’s success comes from a full team effort. Getting a quality performance out of the team’s top golfers sets the team up for success, but is not necessary with such a deep roster.

“We have, definitely, a ‘top two’ players on our team,” Harris said. “If they play well, that sets us up. Actually, I would compare our top seven on the team with probably almost anybody in the state this year.”

The girls team won the Suburban League National Conference Championship and set school records in both nine-hole and 18-hole scores.

Harris noted that much of his coaching style is akin to being a psychologist on the golf course. He explained that as the head coach, it is his responsibility to monitor the pulse of the team, helping those who want it, and usually staying away from those who do not.

“Some of them want more help, and some of them just want to play,” Harris said. “You sort of gauge what they want, and jump in when you need to.”

Harris’ efforts were recognized when he was named Coach of the Year for the Suburban League National Conference.

Nordonia boys golf coach Scott Lawrence noted that in both the boys and girls’ sections, the Suburban League is a cutthroat conference for high school golf. Simply making it into the sectional playoff round is quite a tall order, let alone getting a team into the district or state title rounds.

“One of the things about Northeast Ohio golf is, it is super competitive,” Lawrence said. “I think it was two or three years ago, just in our section alone, three of the four teams that qualified for sectionals went to states. If you can get your team to states, that is a phenomenal accomplishment.”

Lawrence said a lot of the boys team’s success came from the team using the summer to improve.

“Golfers aren’t made on Aug. 1 when the season starts,” Lawrence said. “Golfers are made on March 1, or April 1. These guys really worked hard in the offseason. I think I had four or five of my varsity guys actually out there participating in summer tournaments.”

Both coaches spoke highly of their teams, noting that golf is a game about confidence more than anything else. Having such a talented team helps, but both Lawrence and Harris said a large part of their coaching philosophy is helping the team members to believe in themselves.

“We had two goals: win the Suburban League, and to go to states,” Harris said. “We didn’t graduate anybody last year, so we knew we were going to have a good team. It’s more about convincing the girls how good they are, and that they can win.” ∞

This year’s Nordonia girls golf team was the first girls team
in the school’s history to play at the state tournament at
the Ohio State University golf course. Photo submitted