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Men's & Women's Golf Hand Out Awards; Name 2010-11 Captains

By Fred Schernecker

BROOKLINE, Mass. – On May 2, the Harvard Golf Program gathered at The Country Club in Brookline to celebrate the 2009-2010 season, a gathering made possible by the Friends of Harvard Golf.

During our seniors' time at Harvard, the men's team improved its average tournament score each year - from 310 per tournament round four years ago to a stellar 296 per tournament round this past year.  The average winning score of tournaments during that same time frame went from 293 to 290.  This season the team had a 76 percent winning percentage - another best in team history.  The team has gone from an "upstart" to a "contender" to a "winner".  They are on their way to "champions".  We owe this success in large part to our four seniors:  Greg Shuman, Nick Moseley, Peter Singh and team captain Danny Mayer. 

Over the last four years, the women's team has progressed from "winner" to "champion" on its way to "dynasty" status.  The team’s average score per tournament round improved from 322 four years ago to 303 this year while winning consecutive Ivy League Championships in 2008 and 2009.  The team even received votes to be ranked in this year’s Top 25 national poll - something that has never happened for Harvard or any other team in the Northeast region.  

Over the past four years, the team has compiled an astounding record of 286-22 overall with a record of 91-12 against Ivy opponents.  Sarah Harvey and captain Claire Sheldon provided stellar play and leadership during their four years that has set the bar high for those who follow.

Three awards were presented to each team at the banquet while also announcing the captain election.  

Men’s Team Awards:
Rob Erickson ’01 Team Player Award: Rob Erickson was a three year golf letterman and member of the class of '01 who passed away on January 20, 2005. His friends and teammates knew Rob as a strong advocate for his school, his friends, and the values he shared with his parents. While every Harvard student remembers how it felt to open their acceptance letter, Rob seemed to carry that feeling with him every day throughout college. As a Harvard student-athlete, Rob saw it as his responsibility to help younger players feel welcome at Harvard. When recruits visited campus, Rob was the first to meet them and always offered to house them during their stay. Those who eventually came to Harvard knew they already had one good friend on the team. 

In recognition of Rob’s contributions to Harvard and the golf program, the golf team has created a Team Player award to be given to the golfer who best follows Rob’s example in his commitment to team and community – the Rob Erickson ’01 Team Player Award.

Past Winners:
2005 – Tom Hegge ‘07
2006 – James Cleary ‘06
2007 – Tom Hegge ‘07
2008 – Mike Shore ‘09
2009 -- John Christensen '09

The 2010 winner of the Rob Erickson ’01 Team Player Award was Peter Singh '10.

Alex Vik ’78 MVP:  As a freshman in 1975, Alex won the inaugural Ivy League Championship individually and led the team to their only team Ivy League Championship the same year. The following year he won the individual trophy again and followed up with two more All Ivy performances. Alex has continued to be a valuable member of the Harvard Golf program as a Co-Chair of the Friends of Harvard Board and the father of women’s team member Caroline Vik. This award is given annually to the team member who is most responsible for moving the program toward its vision of becoming the best program in the Northeast. 

Past Winners:
2005 – Chris Wu ‘05
2006 – David (DJ) Hynes ‘06
2007 – Greg Shuman ‘10
2008 – Not awarded
2009 -- Greg Shuman

The 2010 winner of the Alex Vik ’78 MVP Award was Tony Grillo '12.

The Biff Jeeks Harvard Golf Award: Named in honor of the legendary man, this award is given to the Harvard golfer who best exemplifies the traditions of excellence at Harvard, who best represents Harvard Golf and whose fighting spirit helps them and their teammates overachieve.

The inaugural Biff Jeeks award winner was Greg Shuman ‘10

Captain:   Prior to the banquet, the team voted for their new captain. Succeeding outgoing senior Danny Mayer as captain for the 2010 - 2011 season will be Tony Grillo '12. 

Women’s Team Awards
The Short Game Award: Most of our competition is competent from tee to green. Since over 50% of strokes take place within 50 yards of the hole, scoring at all levels comes from the short game – getting the ball in the hole from around the green. This requires practice, strategy, imagination, touch . . . and more practice. As a first step towards improvement, we measure our results. The Short Game Award goes to the player with the most effective short game as measured by our statistical program. 

Past winners:
2002 – Merry Chiampa ‘04
2003 – Kathryn Kuchefski
2004 – Merry Chiampa ‘04
2005 – Jeen-Joo Kang ‘05
2006 – Jessica Hazlett, ‘08
2007 – Emily Balmert ‘09
2008 – Emily Balmert ‘09
2009 -- Christine Cho '12

The 2010 winner of The Short Game Award was Christine Cho ’12, who also won the award last season. Christine was also awarded the Ivy League Player of the Year award.

The Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award: Warren Smith started the Harvard Women’s Golf program in 1993. For most people who knew Warren, he was the nicest man they knew. A true gentleman. A good man who always had a kind and helpful thing to say. He was a father and a grandfather away from home for many Harvard students and a role model for all. In difficult times and good times; through personal adversity Warren always exhibited Sportsmanship, Dedication, Etiquette, and Kindness. Harvard Women’s Golf awards the Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award each year to the team member who best exemplifies the ideals established by Coach Smith.

Past Winners:
2002 – Elisa Schaar ‘04
2003 – Jennifer Cronan ‘06
2004 – Jacquie Rooney ‘07
2005 – Carrie Baizer ‘05
2006 –  Caitlin Hicks ‘06
2007 – Jacquie Rooney ‘07
2008 – Debbi Amanti ‘08
2009 -- Claire Sheldon '10

The 2010 winner of the Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award is Sarah Harvey’10. 

The Biff Jeeks Harvard Golf Award: Named in honor of the legendary man, this award is given to the Harvard golfer who best exemplifies the traditions of excellence at Harvard, who best represents Harvard Golf and whose fighting spirit helps them and their teammates overachieve.

The inaugural Biff Jeeks Award winner was Claire Sheldon '10.

Captain:   Prior to the banquet, the team elected Mia Kabasakalis '11 as their new captain succeeding outgoing senior Claire Sheldon. 

A final note on two of Harvard’s seniors: Claire Sheldon and Greg Shuman compiled noteworthy careers.  While stats tell only a small part of the story, following are some numbers that indicate the impact they each had on Harvard Golf in the past four years:

Greg Shuman:

  • Lowest career scoring average (74.73) -- almost 2 strokes better than the next lowest.  
  • 2nd lowest (73.27) season scoring average (2nd to Mark Pollak 73.20)
  • Most rounds played in a season (23 -- achieved twice) and in career (80)
  • Highest % of counting scores in a season -- (100% -- achieved twice) and highest percentage of counting scores in career -- 96.2% of rounds in career counted.
  • 2nd lowest tournament round (68) -- 2nd to Danny Mayer's 67.
  • lowest 36 hole tournament total -- 3 under par.
  • lowest 54 hole tournament total -- 2 under par
  • Most par or better rounds (10)

Claire Sheldon:

  • Tied for lowest round in team history -- 68
  • Tied for most wins in a season (2) and a career (4)
  • 2nd lowest 36 hole total -- (-2)
  • 2nd lowest career scoring average
  • 3rd lowest season scoring average
  • 2nd in most rounds played in a season (19) -- 2nd to Sarah Harvey (21)
  • 3rd at Ivy's two times
  • Only Harvard Women's Golf team member to qualify for the USGA Women's Amateur