South-West Conference Holds Virtual Chipping Competition for Girls Golf Teams

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High school golf teams in Connecticut never made it out to the course this season.

“We’re home trying to find ways to stay focused, stay active and have some fun,” said Newtown girls golf head coach Jeremy O’Connell.

The girls golf teams in the South-West Conference weren’t going to let the season be lost completely.

“The South-West Conference athletic directors came together and we just wanted to give the kids something fun to do, something competitive,” said Newtown Athletic Director Matt Memoli.

The virtual chipping challenge was born, giving the athletes a chance to compete.

“Outside of classes, there’s not much going on so we’re really making the best of the situation and it’s really fun,” said Weston senior Catie Morvillo. “Even though we don’t have a full golf season, it’s really fun to still be able to compete with other teams.”

“We love going to other golf courses and having the teams come to us and having that social interaction,” added Weston girls golf head coach Jason Akacki. “I know it’s online but it really comes down to the girls would really love to have some type of competition.”

Golfers set up a target and chipped from 10, 15 and 20 feet away.

“Chipping is just so fun,” said Newtown senior Gigi Marino.

Then they got together on Zoom to share the videos and tally the results.

“I never thought that when school was canceled, we would be able to do this so any version of it that we can recreate is really exciting for us,” said Weston senior Ari Berman.

While physically apart, the virtual competition and the abnormal circumstances have made the teams closer than ever.

“With all the girls, we send each other videos of us in our backyards,” said Marino.

“Ari and I are just doing everything we can to make it a fun season for the rest of our teammates,” added Morvillo.

“It is sad that we’re not able to meet in real life but I feel like we’ve almost bonded more as a team through this and having to push through this together,” said Berman.

The seniors are leaving a last legacy on their programs by adapting and leading by example.

“The kids took it so positively and had such an open mind,” said Memoli.

“With all seniors, it didn’t end the way that you would want it to end with just being able to get out and play,” said O’Connell. “Still having her be instrumental and a positive role model for all the younger kids has really been beneficial for us.”

The teams agreed that they all came out winners just by having the competition.

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