Girls golf: Nolan, Hickey anchor improving WHS

Since its first season in 2014, the Wilton High girls golf team has moved forward each of its three seasons.

From one win in season one, the Warriors went to two wins in season two, leading up to last year’s 5-9 campaign.

The team came close to making the FCIAC playoffs for the first time last season, but did make its first-ever appearance at the state championship tournament.

With many of its top golfers back, the Warriors enter the 2017 season with hopes of surpassing last year’s exploits.

“I’d like to see us try to keep on the trend of improvement,” said Stuart Waack, in his fourth season as head coach. “Our goal is to get to FCIACs and see some of the girls accomplish some of their individual goals.”

The Warriors are scheduled to begin the season today at Darien, with matches also slated at Greenwich on Wednesday, and at home on Thursday.

Wilton will again be anchored by longtime standouts NoraNoël Nolan and Morgan Hickey, who are this year’s senior captains.

“These two girls have been the backbone of the team. Neither one has missed a match in three years. That is an incredible thing for a varsity athlete,” said Waack.

Both are four-year starters, and both have improved dramatically every season since their freshman year. Hickey dropped her average from 50 to 45 from her freshman to junior years, while Nolan dropped from 55 to 40.

“That’s such a compliment to these two girls and the effort they’ve put in to become better players,” Waack said.

Nolan is coming off a milestone season, after becoming the first Warrior to earn first-time all-FCIAC honors.

She is the highest returning finisher from last year’s FCIAC championships, when she placed third with a round of 81. She also finished the season in fourth place in the FCIAC differential standings (score vs. par) — and had the highest ranking of any non senior.

Hickey last season earned all-FCIAC honorable mention, and just missed making the all-FCIAC West team, according to Waack.

“I see her being one of the better players in the FCIAC this year,” he said.

While the foul weather has kept the Warriors off the course, Waack said three returning players should figure into the mix this season — junior Maya Fazio, who played in almost every match last year, junior Sophia Kammerman and senior Beth Heffernan.

The team also returns seniors Grace Ullman, juniors Ashleigh Hawthorne, Madeline LeBeau, Sophie Phelan and Kelly Wang.

New players this season are juniors Claire Healey, Megan Meyer, Madison Paradis and Adriana Sudano; sophomore Chloe Mandel; and freshman Madeline Pennino.

The Warriors have their biggest team ever with 15 players. Waack said 19 girls expressed interest at the team’s organizational meet — showing that interest in girls golf is indeed growing.

“It was a nice surprise. It’s bigger than just the team and the record. It’s about promoting girls golf in our area,” he said.