Smithtown East golfers Alexa Niven, Peyton Greco and Cassie Hall rarely lose their cool on the course, but there was one moment in March 2011 when the trio could not contain their emotions.
"We were seventh-graders at tryouts," Hall said. "I remember when coach pulled us aside and told us we made the team. We tried to keep it cool, but as soon as he walked away, we started dancing and singing and rolling down the hill after the ninth hole."
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Four years later, the goals are loftier than just making the team but the enthusiasm for playing together has remained.
The three juniors are all undefeated in dual meets this season for the 5-0 defending county champions.
"We're prepared for this year to be a great one," said Niven, who came in fourth in the county tournament and 14th in the state tournament last season. "Playing in practice every day, you really get to know each other," she added of herself, Greco and Hall. "We've gotten really close."
"I feel like all of our personalities blend well," said Greco, who placed third in the county last season and 18th in the state tournament. "It's been like that since we've made the team. They make the whole golf experience so much fun."
"They've meant so much to the program," coach Bob Woods said. "They've been on the team since seventh grade and their progress and the team's progress speaks for itself. They're a special group of kids, golfwise, schoolwise, and characterwise."
On the high expectations that have accompanied the team's success, Niven said, "It adds a little pressure, but it really helps us want to succeed and prepare."
Greco said that the tight-knit nature of the team helps create a more relaxing environment, and that results in the players feeling "a lot less pressure."
"We're all just pushing each other. It's a fun environment," Hall said, and added "it's so crazy how different the team is now."
We've always been the three musketeers, but in seventh grade, we were the three young ones on the team," she said. "It's really cool we'll be able to finish our careers together [next year]."
For all the good times they've had, though, the golfers remain focused on their main goal. "We definitely want to win counties again," Greco said.