May 12, 2021

PHS Golf Producing a Brilliant Campaign In Severance’s Final Spring Guiding Program

By Bill Alden

Sheryl Severance knew that this spring would be her 28th and final season coaching the Princeton High golf program, but she had no idea how strong her last team might be.

“There were question marks,” said Severance, who is retiring from teaching and coaching at the end of this school year.

“Some of the freshman will tell you that they are really good golfers; I saw them for four days last year and you can’t really make an assessment before we went out for COVID. I knew we would be good but I didn’t know how good.”

Severance has been pleasantly surprised as her squad got off to a 10-0 start in dual match play and finished second in the NJSIAA Central and South Jersey, Group 4 boys golf sectional at Charleston Springs last Monday with a score of 328, 16 strokes behind champion Montgomery. The Tigers qualified for the Tournament of Champions, which takes place at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington on May 19.

A key constant for the program has been senior Adam MacMillan, who took second individually at the sectional with a one-over 73 with sophomore Madeleine Zang firing an 80 to tie for 13th and freshman Remmick Granozio carding an 84 to tie for 23rd.

“His game is not only good his head is also good,” said Severance of MacMillan.

“He has a good personality and he works well with others. He is a good leader.”

A five stroke win over WW/P-North on April 22 proved to be a confidence builder for PHS.

“As we went into it, I don’t think the kids thought we could win,” said Severance, whose team prevailed 161-166.

“I think they thought we had been putting some good numbers but some people are breaking 40 one day and the next day they are at 45. It just came together nicely, it wasn’t even one of our lowest scores. It was 161 and our low score this year at Princeton Country Club was 151. I think there were nerves but we pulled it out.”

Severance has been impressed by how her varsity newcomers have handled their nerves in competition.

“I am happiest about the young kids, they are so strong,” said Severance, who has used freshmen Brook Cahill-Sanidas, Peter Eaton, Benji Tarter, and Granozio along with sophomores Tyler Ehee, Harrison Ehee, Wes Yonish, and Zang in varsity matches.

“I just had a JV match today and one of my little JV guys is shooting 38. I had another one the other day break 40 as a freshman. I remember when I started, the good freshmen were shooting in the high 40s. These kids are low 40s and every once in a while they break 40. We are trying to give everybody a feel for varsity, anybody can be up there.”

Sophomore Zang has demonstrated that she has a strong enough game to hang with the boys.

“She is crazy laid back, humble as can be,” said Severance, whose lineup has also featured junior Christopher Shen and senior Eden Richmond.

“Somebody will say Maddie you had a good round and she will say Adam did too. I joke with her, how boring is your game, she never leaves the fairway from tee to green. Her woods are spot on accurate, straight down the middle.”

Coming into the sectional, the PHS players did their homework.

“They went down Friday and played Charleston Springs,” said Severance.

“Pat [assistant coach Pat Noone] took them because the course is in his neighborhood, it is a course he plays all the time. He was teaching them some course management and some nuances of the greens. He said they all looked good, they loved the course.”

With the CVC Tournament on the horizon, PHS figures to be in the hunt for a run at another  title.

“I like that it is more than one day, we are really excited,” said Severance, noting that the competition will be in a team format with a bracket rather than a one-day tournament.

All in all, the season is shaping up as an exciting finale for Severance.

“This is my 28th year, how crazy is that,” said Severance. “My daughter just had my first grandchild, I don’t want to miss that. They live in D.C. and I want to be able to pick up and go down there and stay with them. I said to the players, thank you for making my last year fantastic.”