By LAUREN READ
Last year, Nate Godbout was disappointed with his performance in the Vermont golf state championships.
This year, the Champlain Valley Union junior has a plan to improve his play for the post season: play more golf.
“I hadn’t played enough weekday matches in golf to prepare myself,” Godbout said. “Making sure I am in the right place and playing well when sectionals come around is going to be huge this year.”
One big snag in Godbout’s plan? Soccer practice.
Godbout plays on both the boys golf and soccer teams.
“I knew I had a lot of talent with golf and I had a good year, but I couldn’t give up soccer.” Godbout said. “I didn’t want to do it. I know it’s going to be busy.”
After the Vermont Principals’ Association switched golf to the fall sports season last year, Godbout faced a dilemma when it came to his two favorite sports. He decided to play both and received support from both Rob Cole, the coach of the CVU boys soccer team, and CVU boys golf coach Seth Emerson.
The early part of the season has seen a good balance for Godbout, who practices with the golf team in the afternoon before heading to soccer practice.
“Most of it is timing,” Godbout said. “The main thing for me is attending as many soccer practices as I can. The golf matches, the big matches, sectionals, states, are in the daytime.”
Both Cole and Emerson spoke to the importance of communication when it came to Godbout’s success this season in both sports.
“He does a really good job of communicating with both of us coaches,” Emerson said. “He has a level of organization and maturity that is making it work.”
A second year of doubling up has also helped the junior figure out how to best navigate a tricky schedule, which comes with a full load of classes and homework.
“It’s really down to the player’s goals,” Cole said. “Golf is a big part of his athletic goals, being a very good golfer. Anyone like Nate who wanted to be elite in both sports would have to find this balance.”
So far, so good on the balance. Godbout is firmly ensconced in the top three on the CVU golf team which has its sights set on a state championship. Meanwhile, the Redhawks are aiming high in boys soccer after a run to the semifinals last season.
“This year is going to be exciting because we have a chance to win,” Godbout said. “It would be a cool year if I got two titles.”
But state championships are a long term-goal and another scheduling headache. For now, Godbout will just look to translate his success from the field to the course and back.
“He has a sort of focus, an ability to play calmly on the ball and not be rattled by pressure,” Cole said. “He was taking PKs in practice and kids were yelling to throw him off and I was thinking ‘this kid’s a lights-out golfer, you are not going to get in his head.’”
While focus translates well from golf to soccer, Emerson notices a few traits from the soccer field that Godbout brings to the golf course.
“I think his competitiveness is a quality that serves him well in both sports,” Emerson said. “His ability to process quickly helps on the soccer field and deal with tough shots and mental pressure situations on the golf course.”
For now, Godbout is enjoying his two-sport run. He knows though with college looming, that he will have to make a decision. “Next year I am going to have to make a choice for collegiate reasons,” Godbout said. “It’s going to be hard to give one up.”