Head Coach Greg Hughes reflects on OV’s second-straight D-II golf title


From left to right: Freshmen Jackson Howe (95), Senior Jordan Beayon (101), Senior Matthew Bryant (93), Senior Thomas Politano (84), and sophomore Lucas Politano (77) were a part of OV’s second straight Division II golf championship on October 13.

BRANDON — Following their second-consecutive Division II Golf title on October 13 in Orleans, The Reporter “sat down” with head coach Greg Hughes via an e-mail exchange to discuss the team, the season, and the sweet taste of victory. 

The following is an excerpt from that exchange, with some answers edited for clarity:

What’s it been like to coach this team?

A: Coaching these guys has been very interesting and not comparable to other sports. Lucas and Thomas are dual sport athletes, so we didn’t practice together as a team often, but when they get together… they become so focused and amped up to be the best they can be. 

How did the championship tournament unfold?

A: [The championship is] awkward as a coach because I am getting an update from other coaches and parents when the course allows us to cross paths… as to the ins and outs of how it unfolded, I found out last coming into the clubhouse. We were unsure of the results at that point, so there was excitement in the air in anticipation. I knew it had been down to us and Hartford, which it had been the whole year—so we knew it was going to be close. 

The team called their shot and predicted a state title last season; how was their confidence this time?

A: We barely beat Hartford for [the Southern Vermont League title] … they beat us in sectionals—which was at our home course—so it has become a rivalry. With that being said, they knew they had to show up to win… just because we won last year didn’t mean it was going to be easy. 

Our guys were confident—nervous but mostly excited to get the opportunity to go back to back. Lucas was very excited to get the chance to redeem himself for coming in second last year.  Second in D-II was great in our eyes as a freshman, but he plays high-quality golf and expects to show it.  

How much has Lucas meant to this team?

A: Lucas has been an integral part of this team. Obviously, he is our best scorer, but with that, he brings inspiration and confidence in his teammates that they have a solid leader to follow golf-wise. 

Our three seniors are great leaders as well in setting [their] sights on more and wanting to create memories. This is a special group that has all gained a strong desire for the game of golf through their success. 

I think our trip to Pinehurst last year for nationals was eye-opening into the real world of golf and not just Otter Valley in Vermont golf. 

Lucas… plays in big tournaments all year round, and it shows… to see his experience rub off on the rest of the team is pretty cool. 

What are some of the struggles the team faced this year?

A: Thomas battled a shoulder injury early on in the season, and not traveling as a full team was somewhat of a struggle throughout—but [with] each little improvement along the way, [we] gained more and more confidence. 

How do you feel about next year’s outlook?

A: Next year should look good; we have Lucas returning and our freshman Jackson Howe who had a big role for us already. We have a few golfers who didn’t get a lot of match experience but are very interested in the game, and hopefully, next year, we can compete again. 

Is there anything else you want the community to know about this team?

A: I know [the] team and I are very grateful for our community’s support. The trip to nationals last year wouldn’t have happened without them. I know our success is sparking more interest in the game, and hopefully, that continues. 

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