COVENTRY TWP.  Making history is usually good.

For the Coventry golf team, it’s even better. The program, which had never finished in the top six in the Portage Trail Conference prior to last season, made a remarkable jump from the bottom of the league to the top by winning the league championship late last month.

It was the first PTC title in program history and head coach Jim Betty got to see his team, with just five players, revel in the moment.

"It meant a lot to all of us. This is my ninth season and in the first few seasons, we’d never been higher than seventh or eighth," Betty sad. "We have some really good players who have stepped up this season."

The junior trio of Adam Shondel, Adam White and Ryan Morrison has been strong all season and Betty credited the group with being foundational for the program since joining the team as freshmen, when two of the three earned All-PTC honors.

In the league meet, Shondel shot an 82, White shot and 86 and Morrison shot a 90, but it was sophomore Jay Thammachack led the way with a 74 to card medalist honors for the meet.

Thammachack and White were named first-team all-league for their efforts and Betty was tabbed as Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

Getting to those lofty places seemed implausible early in the season as the Comets lost their sixth player, whose family moved out of town due to a job. That left Coventry with just five players, and because teams play six in each match and take the top four scores for their team total, Coventry was at a disadvantage.

Still, the Comets persevered and their 332 team score at the league meet was more than enough to etch their names into the school’s history books. High school athletes may not always grasp the significance of making history because they weren’t around when so many big moments of the past took place, but Betty hopes his players appreciate what they’ve done.

"They were recognized at the football game last week and I unfortunately had a commitment in southern Ohio, but only half of them were able to be there," Betty said. "I also got a message that we’re going to be recognized at the school board meeting this month."

On the day of the league meet, Betty recalled, all of the players were eager to have their picture taken with the PTC championship trophy. The photo session continued when the team returned to the school as athletic director Danny Savage snapped photos as well.

The celebration continued this week with the latest incarnation of a new tradition that the team started by going to Quaker Steak and Lube for all-you-can-eat wing night at the end of the year. Gathering to binge on wings is a fun way to cap a successful year and part of the tradition is having any freshmen on the roster attempt to eat one of the restaurant’s infamous Atomic Wings, dipped in a sauce so hot that diners have to sign a waiver before chowing down.

It’s a fitting conclusion to a season that saw the Comets be red hot in their own right, battling the numbers game to reach a place no Coventry golf team had ever gone. It was the kind of year that lands a squad at the top of the league standings - and in a prominent place in the school’s trophy case.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
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