By Dan Fappiano • 06/22/2022 12:47 pm EST
When Nick Sorrentino was a freshman at East Haven High School, he made a decision to join the boys’ golf team and officially compete in the sport for the first time. During his four years as a member of the Yellowjackets, Nick dedicated himself to both the sport and his team, ultimately becoming East Haven’s captain in his senior season.
Nick was a baseball player while growing up in East Haven. Nick played the sport through 8th grade, but then felt like it was time for a change after starting high school. Nick had played a couple rounds of golf with his father Joe and enjoyed their time on the course together. When the spring season arrived, Nick decided to stop playing baseball and start pursuing golf.
“I played a round or two with my dad when I was just starting off. I really enjoyed it. I was getting a little sick of baseball. I had played for so long on so many different teams. I wanted to try something new,” says Nick. “I saw golf and thought I might as well try it out. Golf is a difficult sport to learn, but playing with my dad was a lot of fun. I learned a lot from him and took off with it.”
Nick spent the first half of his freshman season at the JV level before making the jump to varsity for the second half of the campaign. Nick understood his role on the team and did his best to put together a strong round each time he was on the links.
Nick says that the competition reminded him of the golf that he had played with his dad. Nick felt that those experiences had him prepared for the rigors of high school golf.
“It wasn’t much different. It was very competitive. Me and my dad always have that competitive drive between us,” Nick says. “I just went out and took it very seriously. I just tried to play the best that I could.”
Although his sophomore season was canceled, Nick still found ways to improve his game. He started golfing more with his friends and encouraged them to try the sport. At this time, Nick was golfing almost every single day.
Nick got a new set of golf clubs for his junior season. He spent the preceding summer working hard in preparation for the campaign. Nick helped the Yellowjackets qualify for the Division II State Championship that year and then make it back to the state meet as a senior this spring.
Nick tries to keep a level head when he participates in his matches. Nick knows that golf is a mental game and refused to let one bad shot ruin his entire round when he was competing as a senior.
“I just try to keep calm,” Nick says. “Golf is a very mental sport. It’s 90-percent mental and 10-percent physical. I’m just trying to keep my head on a screw and, if I mess up, try and brush it off.”
That mentality was evident in East Haven’s matchup versus Wilbur Cross on April 18. Nick helped lead the Yellowjackets’ to a 182-228 victory, earning medalist honors with a score 43. Nick got off to a slow start that day, but junior teammate Dom Plano encouraged him to keep calm and not worry. From there, Nick found his focus and finished strong for one of his best rounds of the season.
Along with his work on the greens, Nick also served as the Easties’ captain this year. Nick already knew most of his teammates entering the season and was able to make strong connections with the newcomers. Nick wanted to ensure that everyone had fun because, as he had come to understand, you play your best golf when you win the mental game.
“I was very grateful. I knew most of the guys. I got to know the new kids very well. We just tried to have as much as we could,” Nick says. “Sometimes, when you take golf too seriously, you start to fall apart. We just tried to have fun with it. I thought we had a pretty good season.”
Head Coach Rick Narracci took note of Nick’s calm demeanor as both a golfer and a leader. Narracci described the senior captain as an integral member of the program who always strives to help the Yellowjackets come out on top.
“Nick is pretty laidback.” He keeps things loose,” says Narracci. “He’s an easy player to play with, and he wants to win.”
Golf was still a new sport for Nick when he was a freshman. His father always told him to work his hardest and do his best. As he graduates from East Haven, Nick is encouraging others to golf a shot and see if they can find their passion in the sport like he did.
“I love golf. I think many people should consider it. It’s a growing sport and a very tight community,” Nick says. “When you get on the golf course, you see the same people every day. Everyone is very friendly. I think golf is one of the most overlooked sports in the world.”