VASSALBORO — Make no mistake, the Cony golf team wants to win. And they want to win now.

But what is ultimately sticking out for the Rams this season is not so much the wins and losses, it’s the improvement the team has made. And the fun the Rams are having while doing it.

It’s also showing a bright future for head coach Shawn Johnson, who has a strong group of eight sophomores gaining experience.

“Last year I knew I had a decent group of freshmen, I really did,” Johnson said. “There was a group of five or six of them that were in the 50 (stroke) range. I was like ‘Jeez, this group can do something special if they start to really work at it and put time into this.’ I kept stressing to them — to everybody, not just them, but everybody — put some time into this and it can be a special group when you get older.”

The Rams put in enough time to make some marked improvement. Cony has already matched the two wins they collected all of last season. And it doesn’t seem to matter who is listed as the No. 1 golfer for a match, anyone can have a strong day on the course.

“When I go to a match, I have eight kids I can bring to a match. From one to eight, my No. 1 might be my highest score, my (No.) 8 might be my lowest,” Johnson said. “It’s so interchangeable.”

“We’re playing very well,” said senior Alex Stewart. “We’ve had some of the lowest games I’ve seen in the four years I’ve been playing here. We’re all shooting around the same (scores). You really can’t ask for much more than that.”

Stewart has been used as the team’s No. 1 golfer because — as Johnson credited — he’s a “Steady Eddie,” strong enough mentally to handle the pressure that comes with playing against some of the top golfers in the area. It gives Johnson the flexibility to put his golfers in positions where they can excel during a match.

“It’s great for me right now, because I can put kids in some of the other spots where they don’t feel the pressure of a kid who shoots a 37,” Johnson said.

The results have shown on the golf course. On a given day, it could be Stewart with the low score. It could be junior Ben Lapierre, who was the low scorer in a recent match against Hampden Academy. It could be sophomores Bobby Stolt or Quincy Tobias, who each shot a 47 — just three strokes behind Lapierre — in that same match.

Or it could be sophomore Kyle Douin, who is pulling double-duty between hitting the links with the golf team and also serving as a kicker on the football team. It makes sense, as connections can be made between hitting a golf ball and kicking a football.

“There are some similarities,” Douin said. “A field goal or extra point, it’s kind of like a chip shot (in golf). It’s just about repetition. You do the same thing every time and make it into muscle memory.”

Douin has been one of many pleasant surprises for Johnson this season, as he didn’t play golf last season.

“One, it was a surprise that he came out (for the team). I’m very happy that he is and that he’s playing, ” Johnson said. “Two, that he’s getting into it. He’s starting to say ‘Hey, this is fun, I’m decent at it, too and contributing to the team.’ That was a surprise to me, of all the surprises.”

Fun has been a word not lost on the Rams this season. The team has managed to keep it loose on and off the course.

“I think this team — of the four I’ve been on — has the best camaraderie,” Stewart said. “All similar in personality. If you look at our team — I’ve been on the baseball team, the tennis team, I’ve been on a whole bunch of other teams — this one by far, just the six of us can be louder and have a better time (than anyone).”

“They’re all pretty good friends, they all get along pretty well, that’s another plus,” Johnson said. “They’re going out and they’re having fun. That’s another thing that I want before they graduate. I want them to be able to say ‘Hey, that was fun.'”

The Rams want to win. But they’ll take the improvement. And they’ll certainly take the fun along the way.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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