Coed Varsity Golf
Thornton Academy has offered golf as a sport since the late 1930’s when Harry Sawyer started the very first school-sponsored team. The program has been consistently successful and won its first State Interscholastic Championship in 1946. Just over a decade later, Thornton fielded an undefeated squad under Coach Stephen Polackwich and captured the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) state championship. Today the team plays in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association’s (SMAA) Central Division and competes in a home-and-home series of nine hole matches against each of the other five members of this grouping.
High school golf consists of both individual and team components. Six members of the varsity team compete in each of the team’s regular season matches and have the opportunity to contribute points towards the team’s total. An individual golfer can earn up to two points based upon his or her nine hole score (medal play) and hole differential (match play) in direct competition with a player from the opposing school. Each year the SMAA holds a qualifying tournament in which teams have an opportunity to qualify for the state team championship at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro in October. The top individual scorers during the qualifier return to Natanis one week later for the state individual championships; separate individual championships for boys and girls are sponsored by the MPA.
Alumni of the Thornton Academy golf program include some of the top players in Maine interscholastic history. Gail Martin was an all-state performer for three consecutive seasons from 1988-1990 and gained induction into the Thornton Academy Hall of Fame. Megan Angis was Maine State Interscholastic Golf Champion in 2002. Hashilla Rivai captured the girls state crown in 2014 and went on to play golf at Division I Purdue University. Three boys players—Erwin Kennedy (1950), Matt Brennick (1999), and Brian Angis (2009)—have won the state individual championship while playing for Thornton Academy; Angis was also named as the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year.
Only three coaches have guided the fortunes of the Thornton Academy golf program in the last four decades. Michael Verrier coached the Golden Trojans to 194 match victories in 25 seasons and won 12 divisional, four conference, and three Class A state championships; he was inducted into the Maine Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. Michael Tate guided Thornton Academy to an overall record of 95-18-1 (.829) and captured four divisional and six conference titles. Current head coach Jeff Camire has a record of 44-11 (.800) in his five seasons at the helm, and his 2015 team won the Class A state title.
Thornton Academy conducts its practices and plays its matches as guests of the Biddeford-Saco Country Club. Tryouts are held for both the varsity and junior varsity teams during mid-August. All practices are held on weekdays.