Ellie De Andrade is only a first-year high school student at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, but she is already creating a legacy for herself on the golf team.
The 15-year-old has been on the varsity team since the seventh grade. Last season, when she had a 14-2 individual record as an eighth-grader, De Andrade played No. 1 for the girl’s squad and helped lead her team to a South sectional championship.
She shot an 84 at the state tournament, finishing eighth individually and helping her team to a second-place finish, trailing only behind the strong Concord Carlisle team.
Her achievements last year landed her on All-Scholastic lists at The Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Patriot Ledger, and she topped that off by winning the Mass Bay League individual crown.
And she did all this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and maintaining her presence on the school honor roll.
Third-year coach Jay Durfee has been a part of De Andrade’s journey since she started on the team two years ago and has watched her talent grow on the green. Her dedication to the sport and academics is impressive, he said.
“She is the ideal student-athlete,” said Durfee. “She puts a lot of time and effort into the game. She takes regular instruction and works very hard. She is my number-one player.”
Despite the strong season last year, De Andrade wants to improve her game. And she is putting the work in to do just that.
“My goal is to try and do better than I did last year,” said De Andrade. “I’ve been working hard to improve my game, and hopefully the hard work will give me the chance to have a better season.”
So far, so good. De Andrade and the Notre Dame Academy squad have been performing at a stellar level this season. The team has a 17-1 record and won the Mass Bay League crown May 22. De Andrade placed first in the Mass Bay League championship match, shooting a 38 over nine holes.
How does someone so young perform at this level? Lots of hard work, said De Andrade.
“I make sure I practice frequently,” said De Andrade. “I spend a lot of time on the course and at the driving range trying to perfect my shot. Then after I practice, I decide my strategy for the next match based on who we are playing.”
Besides the hours she puts in with the Notre Dame Academy team, De Andrade plays at the Boston Golf Club in Hingham. She became fond of the sport at the age of 9, when her mother picked up the game. The duo would go to the range to play together, and De Andrade never stopped.
Basketball and soccer were De-Andrade’s go-to sports before attending Notre Dame Academy. But when she started on the team in seventh grade, she decided to focus only on golf.
Now, her future in the golf world is bright.
“I’m excited to continue playing for Notre Dame Academy for the next three years,” said De Andrade. “And ever since I began playing, I thought about where the sport would take me. Hopefully I would get the chance to play in college.”
But first she wants to end her first year in high school on top on the green.
“Right now, I’m focusing on sectionals and the state championship,” said De Andrade. “I think that our team has a lot of good golfers, and we could perform well during both matches.”
The South sectional match is set for June 5 and the state championship will come later in the month.
De Andrade’s talented teammates include sophomore Margot Osterman, the No. 2 player, and seniors captains Jackie Hurley and Kelly Ewanich.
“It has been an honor to play for Notre Dame Academy for the past three years,” said Ewanich, who will be Villanova-bound in the fall. “I have had the opportunity to play with many talented golfers, which has played a major role in helping me to improve my game. The team has helped me to become a focused, driven, and optimistic athlete.”
Both De Andrade and Ewanich want to carry on the golf legacy at the school, a legacy that includes 12 state championships over the last 18 years.
The girls are grateful that they are a part of such a decorated program.
“It means a lot to me to be part of something that has a record of being a really strong team,” said De Andrade. “When I came to Notre Dame Academy and joined the golf team, I really wanted to carry on the legacy. And it is great that we continue to have great team year in and out. When we show up to each match, we always have a good chance of doing well.”Andrew Higginbottom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.