St. Joseph boys win Division III championship

St. Joseph golf team members Andrew Flynn, Colin Firda, Luke Fortin, Billy Lesko, Anthony Jacozzi and Robbie Sluga stand with the CIAC Division III championship plaque.

St. Joseph golf team members Andrew Flynn, Colin Firda, Luke Fortin, Billy Lesko, Anthony Jacozzi and Robbie Sluga stand with the CIAC Division III championship plaque.

St. Joseph Athletics / Contributed photo

Colin Firda shot a 77 to help St. Joseph win the CIAC Division III boys’ golf state championship by a single stroke over Lewis Mills.

Coach Joe Della Vecchia’s Cadets scored a 329 on the par 71 Stanley Golf Course in New Britain. St. Joe’s Andrew Flynn had a round of 81 followed by Robbie Sluga 82 and Luke Fortin 89.

“This is our first title and we had a ball,” Della Vecchia said. “We finished seventh in 2019. We had never played this course, so we went up and practiced. We played a better round in practice than we shot in the match when it was so hot (temperature 95).”

St. Joseph was still on the course when Lewis Mills finished with a 330.

“Colin was key for us,” said Della Vecchia of his Division III All-State player. “We knew coming in that he needed to be 6 over for us to win. He got to 4 over after 16. Then we found out he had a bogey on 17.”

A player from Tolland informed Della Vecchia that Firda wasn’t on the fairway at 18.

“Colin had to hit one over 30-foot trees to get back into our fairway. He hit it on the green 30 feet away, then got to within two feet and tapped it in to shoot a 77. It was an incredible moment,” said Della Vecchia, who couldn’t have predicted how the season would end.

“We hadn’t been together in more than a year. Billy Lesko was our only senior. We had Anthony Jacozzi back as a junior. I also knew Andrew Flynn was good,” he said. “Colin Firda came in as a freshman. Luke Fortin was a sophomore I had never seen play. Robbie Sluga is a transfer from Trinity (Catholic).”

With golf moving to the fall, and Della Vecchia St. Joseph’s football coach, he won’t be there to watch his all underclass squad defend its title.

“I’m disappointed. I have a good time with these guys,” he said. “I wish I could be there with them.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354