By Greg Klein STAFF WRITER
---- — For the first time in 2013, Cooperstown’s relaxed some of its athletic rules to allow eighth graders to play varsity in certain sports. The timing worked out perfectly for CCS golf.
Eighth-grader Teddy Trosset turned out to be the team’s top duffer. Trosset won medalist (low score) awards in six of the 18 meets Cooperstown played and led the team with a nine-hole average of 41.5.
Trosset said he started golfing young.
“I got my first set of clubs when I was 2,” he said. “My dad would take me with him every now and then. The first time I remember going out on the course was with my grandfather, Jack Mahoney, taking me to the putting green when I was 4.”
“I’ve liked it forever,” he continued, “probably since I started playing.”
Trosset’s dad, Mike, a 1985 CCS graduate, played varsity golf and has encouraged his son.
“I like to go out with him, but it is a lot more pressure too,” Trosset said.
“Probably in the summer when I was 8 or 9 is when I started playing every day, seven days a week,” he continued.
This year, Trosset will play in summer and fall leagues, where he admits his 15.3 handicap won’t win him any medalist awards.
“In most of the tournaments I play, there are kids my age shooting 10 shots better than me,” he said. “Some kids younger than me are shooting better than me too.”
Trosset also plays basketball and soccer, but he said he does golf year round. Like most upstate athletes who play an outdoor sport, he has found a way to play in the winter.
“Turning Stone has an indoor course,” he said. “I usually go up there every day on the weekends; every day I can, really.”
At 14, Trosset has yet to get his growth spurt, so he relies on his skill. His short game is his biggest strength; driving his biggest weakness.
“I don’t hit the ball that far yet,” he said.
“His size and strength will catch up to him,” said Cooperstown golf coach David Peplinski. “This is the first year since I’ve been coaching that selective classification for golf has been allowed at Cooperstown Central so, I’ve never had an eighth grader play for me let alone be one of the top golfers on the team.
“Many of the teams we play have allowed selective classification for years so seeing seventh- and eighth-grade golfers over the years at other schools leads me to think Teddy will bring his scoring average down to one or two over par by the time he graduates,” he continued.
Cooperstown’s older players took to Trosset quickly, Peplinski said.
“Teddy is a great young man,” he said. “He was able to fit right into the team dynamic this year and the upperclassmen loved having him around. The team was always very supportive of one another and was genuinely impressed with Teddy’s play. It certainly didn’t hurt that he was one of our better golfers.”
“I hang out with my friends like a normal eighth grader,” Trosset said. “But the high school team was fun. They kind of accepted me.”
In the Center State Conference tournament held on May 30 at The Golf Club of Newport, Trosset teamed with senior Matt Frevele to shoot a 168. Frevele, a senior, shot 80. Trosset shot 88.
In his high school career, Trosset said he wants to qualify for the state tournament. Only nine Section Three golfers qualified this year for states.
This summer, Trosset will be out on tour for the Mohawk Valley Junior Golf Tour and the Northeastern New York Junior Golf Tour, a schedule that his coach thinks will help him make the state tournament some day.
“Teddy is willing to put in the time to work on his game and practice during the off season that it will take to make it,” Peplinski said.