Several setbacks at the beginning of their season didn’t deter the 2019 Burke Catholic High School golf program. They learned from their errors, moved forward with confidence, and ultimately found a considerable share of success.
“Our overall record was 8-13 and 4-6 in OCIAA Division II," said head coach Matt McGinnis said. “We opened the season with two Invitationals, one four-team Invitational at Monroe Country Club and a five-team invitational at Hickory Hill Golf Course. After those two invitationals, we were 0-9. We finished the rest of the season 8-4."
Coach McGinnis remembers some of the most noteworthy matches played by his team this year.
“I would say that our match at Mansion Ridge Golf Club against Washingtonville and Red Hook was a turning point in terms of play," he said. "We won the match 162-179-186. It was our lowest team score of the season. We had three scores in the 50's — Jordan Morris (senior) and Allie Gesztesi (freshman) each shot a 52. Anya Salters (sophomore) shot a 58, and Emmalyn McAteer (sophomore) had a 65. These scores were all season bests. After that our scores remained in the 170-180 team score range.
“Another match that stood out was our tri-match at Hickory Hill against Sullivan West and Warwick. We had our second-lowest round with a score of 171. We lost to Warwick 153-171 but beat Sullivan West 171-186. Juliana Gesztesi and Allie Gesztesi each shot a 55. Caileigh Costello (61) and Jackie Costello (66) each shot season lows. Our last match against Goshen stands out because it was Juliana Gesztesi's last match and she shot a career low 51. It was good way to conclude her four years competing for Burke Catholic."
Leaders step up
Juliana Gesztesi was one among several student-athletes who provided leadership for the Eagles this past season.
“Juliana Gesztesi has been the leader of the program for the past three years," McGinnis said. “If we need one player to play by herself, she usually steps up so the younger or less experienced players can play with a teammate. Juliana does this so the younger/less experienced player will have a better comfort level competing with her teammate.
“A group of athletes that emerged as leaders were juniors Brenna Costello, Caileigh Costello and Jackie Costello. They show leadership by their curiosity and always having fun. First, they are always willing to ask questions about what to do or what a ruling is. Secondly, I had a young player that was kind of reserved and keeping to herself. So one day, she wasn't scheduled to compete in the match, so I had her play with the Costellos and all I hear is them talking and laughing walking up the ninth hole at Hickory Hill."
Emmalyn McAteer, Jackie Costello, and Allie Gesztesi were among the most improved golfers for Burke Catholic this year.
“Between this year and last year their scores have improved so much," McGinnis said. “This was one of the program's best seasons since 2014. They worked on improving their game, and all of them have. Although we lose two seniors (Juliana Gesztesi and Jordan Morris) who played a majority of the matches the last two years, Anna Salters and Allie Gesztesi should continue to improve and build on their experience this year.
“Also, other players will have the opportunity to step up and play more next year, especially Brenna Costello, Caileigh Costello, Jackie Costello and Emmalyn McAteer. We also have some players who didn't get to participate in matches this year that will have the opportunity to compete next year."