by Andrew Garda
The Montclair High School golf team is one of the best-kept secrets in town, but that’s slowly changing.
That’s what happens when a team compiles a 15-1 record. The Mounties lost just one match, to Livingston, and are poised to win their division. With all that momentum, the team rolled through Seton Hall Prep Tuesday afternoon, scoring 169 to 180, Seton Hall Prep was another team with just one loss prior to that match, one they received from Montclair High School.
That win gives Montclair the division title, capping a fantastic season where every putt seemed to break the right way for the Mounties.
Coach Kenneth Schnitzer knows his team has the talent to do it. They just need to keep focused.
That’s true in many sports, but unlike many team sports, golf is almost always about playing against yourself and the course. It’s hard to take frustration out on the course — so it’s more likely a golfer gets down on themselves.
Luckily, the Mounties do a great job of keeping one another focused and positive. Schnitzer says he tries to keep it fun for the players, to make sure they stay loose. By the same token, he tells them to remember not to be complacent because as soon as you think you have golf — or life — figured out, it’ll change on you.
Schnitzer also uses that as a way to remind his golfers that things will go wrong — putts will come up short, drives will shank into the rough — but those obstacles are temporary. You can get over them if you don’t get hung up on them.
The Mounties have proven themselves over the course of the season to be very tough mentally, so clearly that message is getting through to them.
The team has also been lucky in that it has an incredibly deep roster.
During any match, only six golfers hit the course. However, the Mounties have a roster of 15, and it seems like Schnitzer can put any combination out there and succeed.
Senior captain Logan Carter has been a cornerstone for the team and recently shot a 36 during competition. Freshman Max Sorger scored a 45, and sophomore Lex Fall recently scored under 40 for the first time ever.
Schnitzer says he does his best to get everyone involved and on a course though, and all have been performing well.
Carter and the others are frequently joined by a combination of seniors like Eliijah Bussey, Ethan Vest and Alex Rosen, or juniors Miles Bylin, Annette Lee or Elias Ottens.
And while the current team makeup is doing well, the future looks bright as well. Aside from Fall and Sorger, there are a lot of sophomores poised to step up at any time. Will Buttner, Malcolm Gersin, Ryan Hurlock and Matt Miller lead the sophomore contingent of the Mounties’ future, while Jack Nevins joins Sorger in the freshman contingent.
Schnitzer says that the veteran players have been instrumental in helping the younger ones improve. The coach related one recent moment, when Sorger was frustrated with his short game.
While the team was waiting to get started, Carter worked with Sorger on improving his putting.
Golf is usually looked upon as an individual sport, but moments like this show that for MHS, the support of your teammates is as important here as it can be in any team sport.
That constant retooling should make the Mounties a force to be reckoned with as they approach the Super Essex Confrence championships this Tuesday, May 30.