Athan Goulos won't be taking an April vacation break. Instead, he'll be busy playing in three golf tournaments, beginning this weekend with the Future Collegiate World Tour at Red Tail Country Club in Devens.
Goulos, a junior all-star golfer at Peabody High, is coming off an exciting performance at the Junior Match Play Championship for the US Challenge Cup in Newport, R.I. last weekend.
In an event where there were 140 golfers vying for 50 qualifying spots, Goulos qualified with a 75.
In his first match at Woodland Greens Country Club, he beat Cody Pennypacker, 5-3. From there he qualified for the Sweet 16, at the Newport Country Club. He was up against one of the top seeds in the tournament, 18-year old Makenzie Denver of Manchester, N.H., and took him to a sudden death playoff round in one of the best matchups of the tournament.
"I was the 18th seed and we teed off at the 10th hole," said Goulos. "It was back and forth for 4-5 holes before he won three in a row. I was down by three, but came back to catch up to him by the 14th hole. From there it was back and forth again, tied going into the 17th hole in what had to be the most intense match play I've ever been involved in.
"I felt like my short game was clicking, my irons were good, and my long game was working. My whole game was clicking."
On the 17th hole, Denver was on the green about 15 feet for a birdie but wound up with par while Goulos bogeyed. It all came down to the last hole, where Goulos prevailed to force a playoff.
"It was 460 yards into a 25 mile-an-hour wind into your face," he said. "Denver went first and his drive was down the middle. I drove it down the middle and won the last hole because I had par while he bogeyed. I was working on keeping the ball low and hit my 3-iron just off the green, so I had the advantage. My chipping and putting were excellent, which helped me force the playoff.
"We went right back to the 10th hole which was a par-5 and put our drives neck and neck. He hit out of the sand trap short of the green, but I had the adrenaline going and pulled my shot into the bunker. When you hit a wedge going into the wind, it's tough. I hit what's called a 'fried egg' in the sand. I had to go up and down to have a chance to win, but the ball went 35-40 feet past the pin and he won."
Goulos made such a good impression on tournament director Dave Adamonis that he was invited to compete in two upcoming tournaments.
"He told me he was very impressed with my performance and invited me to play in the US Challenge Junior Ryder Cup in Seekonk (April 21), and right before that in the Dave Adamonis Sr. Players Championship, a two-day tournament April 19-20. There will be amateurs, juniors, and legends there, so it'll be a great experience for me.
"I'm so lucky to have a lot of family support from my Dad and Mom (John and Valerie), who put me in the tournaments and drive me all over creation. My uncle George always gives me words of encouragement and cheers for me, too. My grandparents Yiaya and Papou (Dr. John and Cynthia Parianos) are also there for me. My Dad helped me on the bag; he always caddies in tournaments whenever it's allowed."
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Katelyn Hartnett is making a habit of breaking her own school records at Holy Cross. The senior captain from Danvers just returned from the Tiger Open in Auburn, Ala., where she was fifth in the 1500 meter (4:34.59) going against elite competition and 16th in the 800 meter (2:15.52). Her 1,500 time was a personal best by two seconds
Teammate Lexi Culkeen, a former Bishop Fenwick star, was 14th in the shot put (12.26 meters).
"It was exciting to go South to run against schools we never competed against," said Hartnett. "It's very different from seeing the same schools over and over up here. We raced against some I never heard of, and overall my middle distance group did a great job.
"I'm excited about my time in the 1,500, (but) not so much in the 800, which was my main event last year. I ran the 1,500 first and then had to do the 800 the same day, which is tough. I was a little disappointed in that time, but it was our first meet outdoors and I hadn't raced in a month"
Hartnett is coming off a very good indoor season. Her team was fourth in the Patriot League championship, and Hartnett was first in New England in the 1,000 with a new school record. Her winning time was 2:48, easily beating her previous best of 2:51.
"I broke my own record (first at the UNH meet, then again at New Englands) that I've held since sophomore year," she said. "My goal all season was to break 2:50 barrier, and to do it was exciting. I want to end my career on a high note."
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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at email@example.com.