June 2, 2021

PHS Golf Produces Memorable Final Week As Coach Severance’s Tenure Ends with CVC Glory

PERFECT ENDING: Members of the Princeton High golf team celebrate after the squad defeated WW/P-North 157-167 at the Springdale Golf Club on May 25 to win the first-ever CVC Match Play Tournament. Pictured, from left, are head coach Sheryl Severance, Madeleine Zang, Peter Eaton, Adam MacMillan, Chris Shen, Brooks Cahill-Sanidas, Remmick Granozio, and assistant coach Patrick Noone. PHS finished the spring with a 15-0 record in dual match play in the final season for longtime head coach Severance. (Photo provided by Sheryl Severance)

By Bill Alden

Sheryl Severance will never forget her final days coaching the Princeton High golf program.

Culminating the 2021 campaign last week, PHS won the first-ever CVC Boys’ Match Play Tournament, defeating WW/P-North 157-167 on May 25 at the Springdale Golf Club to end the season with a 15-0 record.

A day later, the Tigers girls played in their CVC Match Play final, battling WW/P-North to a standstill, tying the Northern Knights 173-173 after the first four golfers’ scores were added up and 222-222 after the fifth golfers were calculated. The Northern Knights prevailed 271-277 with the scores of the sixth golfers being used as the final tiebreaker.

For Severance, who is stepping down after guiding the PHS golf team for 28 years, it was a perfect ending to a storied tenure.

“If you have to go out, you want to go out this way,” said Severance, who guided the Tigers to state titles in 2007 and 2008; sectional titles in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2019; and Mercer County Tournament crowns in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2007. “It was a fantastic year. The group of kids were amazing.”

As squad competed in the boys’ CVC final, Severance wasn’t sure if she was going to go out with a win.

“I was so nervous watching them, there was a bad shot and I was like ‘oh no,’” said Severance.

“Going into it they were nervous, they were excited. We got Springdale. We had beaten them before at Princeton Country Club so we had an advantage there. We didn’t play all year on Springdale. We did think that this is the final, it should be on a course like Springdale. A few of them were saying we have been playing well at Princeton Country Club, maybe we should stick with that.”

The Tigers stuck with things and prevailed as freshman Brooks Cahill-Sanidas led the way, firing a three-over 38 for the nine-hole competition. Senior star Adam MacMillan and sophomore standout Madeleine Zang were right behind as they both carded 39s. Freshman Peter Eaton rounded out the scoring for PHS with a 41.

“Brooks came out of nowhere, he has been up and down,” said Severance. “Adam and Madeleine had great rounds.”

With the CVC event featuring a team format with a bracket played over weeks due to COVID concerns rather than the annual one-day competition of the Mercer County Tournament, Severance enjoyed the change.

“I really liked it, it was fun,” said Severance. “I have always enjoyed the MCT, but then it is over so quickly. It is one round and you are like did the best team win.”

The PHS girls were led by Zang as they were seeded fifth in their CVC competition and upset second-seeded WW/P-South in the semis to earn the match against top-seeded North.

“Madeleine is such an inspiration to these girls, that is all they talk about,” said Severance.

“They say I want to be as good as Madeleine, I am going to work as hard as her. Her game is so spot on, I love watching her. I was talking to Pat [assistant coach Pat Noone] the other day and I said I could stand here all day and watch her swing. She is just such a good player. She is a real inspiration to the group. She is humble, every time someone says to her you had a good round, she says thank you and then she will talk about someone else.”

In the final, Zang came through again with a 38 followed by Eden Raymond (42), Emma MacMillan (46), Tia Sindu (47), Shelly Zhang (49), and Arunima Suri (55).

“The girls went out, they stepped it up, beating South was great,” said Severance.

“The final went to the sixth score. My girls came in and it was tied after fourth and then you go to the fifth and we had a tie for that. Then it went to the sixth score and we lost on that one. They had a good time, I am so proud of them.”

Severance believes she is leaving the PHS program with a good foundation in place.

“We had a ton of freshmen and sophomores and they are all so energetic,” said Severance, who credited assistant coach Pat Noone with playing a key role in the team’s success this spring and hopes that he will succeed her in leading the team.

“They were all like ‘I want to play golf, I love this game.’ I had 50 kids come out for golf this year. It is in fabulous shape.”

Reflecting on her 28-year tenure guiding the squad, Severance had a fabulous time.

“It is sad, I was walking out to the car after today and I thought ‘this is it, I am never going to do this again,’” said Severance, who plans to spend time with her grandchildren and on the golf course in retirement. “I really enjoyed myself, it was a good run.”