With a third place finish at last weekend’s Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge to combine with a first place spot at the previous weekend’s Cornell Invitational, the Red has now placed in the top three of each of their tournaments this season.
“We’re having a great season this year and we just have a great team this year,” junior Christopher Troy said. “In my time [at Cornell], this has been the best team. We have great depth, which keeps everyone really competitive to determine the travel squad for tournaments.”
Placing first at the Cornell Invitational, the Red was awarded its first full-field victory in nine years. All-around steady performances during the final round helped the team come back from their fourth place seeding following the first day of the tournament.
Senior captain Luke Graboyes was key in the team’s performance, shooting a level-par score of 213 over three rounds, including a two-under 69 in the final round, and placing second in the individual portion of the tournament. Troy also turned in a notable score of 221, including 71 during the final round, for a twelfth place individual finish — his best collegiate performance to date.
“The first round, we didn’t end up playing our best … it was pretty horrible weather,” Troy said. “But even though we didn’t play too well the first round, we stuck with it. I shot 72 and 71 those last two rounds and it really showed me that you can get past one bad round.”
Troy was again a key contributor to the Red’s third place finish at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge. His final score of 145 over three rounds helped offset off performances from the team’s traditionally stronger members.
“Usually, when your best players don’t play well, you finish around the middle of the pack,” Graboyes said. “But this year, even with me and my brother Mike [Graboyes] not playing at our highest level, we still came pretty close to winning. That’s an unbelievable improvement from last year.”
The Red owes a lot of its success to an improved roster, compared to prior seasons. In contrast to the walk-on oriented squads of previous years, this season’s starters have all competed in national tournaments.
“We’re really talented in the one to five spot now, which is a change from years past,” Graboyes said. “All five starters have proven national experience, and as a result every starter will have the opportunity to have their scores count for the team every single round.”
With top three finishes in each of their tournaments this year, the team is focused on not becoming too complacent in order to carry success over into future tournaments. There is certainly widespread sentiment within the team that the group can improve even further upon their recent success.
“I think with our performance so far, we are meeting expectations,” Graboyes said. “I know at every single event, everybody has still not quite reached the level we’re capable of. So we want to continue our goals [of] playing at our highest level … to push our team to new limits.”
Looking forward, Cornell has ambitious aspirations of winning the Ivy League Championship. From their past performances, the team has only lost to one Ivy League school this season in Harvard, the defending Ivy champions.
“We haven’t reached the point where everyone is playing at their best, but we’re so close to that,” Graboyes said. “In all our meets, we’ve only lost to one Ivy League school which is Harvard … and I think our future bar of expectations will be raised, and we’ll have a real chance at winning the Ivy League this year.”