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Ognisty gave Bears consistent outings

STONINGTON — Stonington High golf coach Art Howe could pencil in Sam Ognisty’s score before his round of nine during most of the Bears’ matches and not be far off the mark.

The Stonington junior was a fixture atop the Bears’ scorecard with his customary round of a couple of strokes over par. That steady level of play earned Ognisty ECC-Medium first-team honors. He was one of five golfers selected.

“If I had to describe Sam’s play in one word it would be ‘consistent,’” Howe said. “He was like a machine out there churning out the 37s, 38s and 39s.”

It was the second straight ECC-Medium first-team selection for Ognisty, who made it as a sophomore in 2013. He improved his nine-hole stroke average from 41.4 as a sophomore to 40.1 as a junior.

“I expect Sam to be one of the best in the ECC next season again,” Howe said. Stonington finished 12-6 (6-4 for third place in the ECC-Medium) for its eighth consecutive winning season in Howe’s eight-year tenure.

Ognisty elevated his game when the Bears played in 18-hole matches. In the ECC championship match, he shot a 10-over par 81 to finish seventh. He trumped that solid round in the Division III state meet at Tallwood Country Club in Hebron when he tied for 10th with a 78.

The 78 was six-over-par and just four shots off the leader. Stonington tied for seventh as a team with a four-player score of 343.

If Howe is thrilled to have Sam Ognisty returning next year, he’s ecstatic that freshman Jack Ognisty will be returning for three more seasons. The younger Ognisty brother was an ECC-Medium honorable mention selection. Stonington senior Joel Nelson was also an ECC-Medium honorable mention to give the Bears two of the five picked in that category.

Nelson averaged 43.7 per nine holes, while Ognisty averaged 44.1. Howe lauded Nelson’s consistency, saying if he could throw out a couple of 46 rounds during away meets on unfamiliar courses he would have scored closer to 40 on average. Nelson shot an 88 at the Division III state meet for 43rd.

The freshman Ognisty is driven to succeed, Howe said, sometimes to a fault because he wants to hit a quality shot at all times. When Ognisty is playing well, Howe said, he can roll off numerous pars in succession. He shot an 86 at the Division III state meet for 32nd.

Stonington senior Kyle Gillick received the ECC sportsmanship award.

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