Marcus Griffin’s rocket season with the Schenectady golf team reached a new level when he medaled for the first time in a match with Ballston Spa last week.
And just over a year ago?
“I was the weakest link on the team,” Griffin, a 16-year-old senior, said. “I was new to the game, and I worked. I took as much advice as I could. I wanted to perfect my craft.”
A baseball and bowling guy all his life, Griffin stepped on a golf course for the first time in August of his junior year. Flash forward to Wednesday, when he’ll be among a select group vying for the Section II Class A championship.
“Marcus came out of nowhere,” Schenectady golf coach Bud Watson said. “He became a course rat. He was shooting in the 60s [for nine], then the 50s. All of a sudden it starts trickling down.”
Griffin carded a 4-over-par 40 to share medalist honors with Ballston Spa’s Jake Manderson in last Wednesday’s Suburban Council match on Schenectady Municipal’s back nine. His best nine, a 2-over 38 on the front at Van Patten on Sept. 23, was among the scores that made him a sectional qualifier.
“He works at it. He practices,” Watson said. “This is his first year playing from August to August. He’s an unbelievable example of what work can do.”
Griffin has logged a lot of rounds at Schenectady Municipal in a short amount of time.
“The golf course has taken him in. All of the guys there, led by [head pro] Matt Daley,” Watson said. “He’s a product of the community. Everyone has a piece in us. It’s amazing what you can do with support.”
Griffin said he got a big assist from Washington Irving Educational Center administrator Dennis Green, who provided the youngster with his first set of clubs and plenty of encouragement, and a big push forward from good friend and 2015 teammate Wyatt Pisarski.
“He moved to Tampa,” Griffin said of Pisarski. “He’s a great friend and he taught me so much about the game, especially when I was just beginning. I wouldn’t be in this position without him.”
Griffin said his teammates — Jason Cyr, Jacob Wilson, Angelo Serafini, Destiny Bipat and Jackson Taylor — have continued with the support.
“Great guys. A lot of positivity,” Griffin said. “I can’t tell you how much they help, give me tips, never let me get too down. Great friends. Great teammates.”
Cyr, a team leader with five years of varsity experience, will join Griffin at the sectionals Wednesday at Eagle Crest. Golfers make the sectional tournament by firing 8-over or lower in at least three home and two away matches. Griffin did that with nine such scores overall. Cyr recorded 12 such scores including a par and a 1-over.
“These guys have an opportunity to make a run at the state qualifier,” Watson said of the top 25 finishers at the sectionals. “They can score with those other schools.”
Griffin and Cyr tied for eighth (7-over 79) at the Sept. 15 Suburban Council Championships at Van Patten.
“I’m definitely excited for it,” Griffin said of the sectionals. “I’ve got to stay calm and be the same guy I am. Very humble. Very positive. I can’t get too low on myself.”
Watson believes Griffin will handle himself well despite his lack of experience on the big stage.
“He’s polished,” Watson said. “His swing is polished. He has pace. He’s taking some risks because he’s got the confidence. He’s clicking on all cylinders.”
Niskayuna midfielders Lucas Quinn and Griffin King have landed spots on the Inside Lacrosse national class ranking lists. Quinn is No. 8 on IL’s Young Gun Senior list and King is No. 25 on IL’s Young Gun Sophomore list.
Quinn, who has committed to Syracuse University, totaled 51 goals and 48 assists last season for the Suburban Council champions and was named a US Lacrosse All-American.
Hoosick Falls field hockey coach Denise Campbell reached 300 wins when her Panthers topped Greenwich last week 3-1 in a game matching unbeaten Wasaren League teams.
Campbell began teaching and coaching at Hoosick Falls in 1997, and her teams have placed first in the Wasaren League 12 times, won 11 Section II Class C and Class CC championships, and captured three regional titles.
Campbell was a three-year standout at Hoosick Falls. As a senior in 1990, she set a then-school record with 23 goals for her state runner-up team.
Saratoga Catholic senior Kristen Maher broke her own school soccer record with six goals last week in a 10-0 non-league win at Hadley-Luzerne.
Maher had scored five goals in early September in an 8-3 win, also against Hadley-Luzerne.
Maher has two four-goal games, and four three-goal games.