OLD TAPPAN, N.J. — Northern Valley Old Tappan (NVOT) High School sophomore Ryan Lee stood over his golf ball clutching his seven iron, aiming at the pin 180 yards away.
He took a mighty swing and watched as the ball sailed through the air and landed with a soft "plop" three feet from the hole.
His coach, Tom Quinn, stood off to the side trying to keep his jaw from hitting the floor.
"My kids routinely hit shots that I am simply amazed by," said Quinn, who has led the Golden Knights varsity golf team to a 19-1 record and a Big North Division Championship. "What's even more remarkable is the young kids on this team who are just spectacular golfers."
The NVOT golf team features an unprecedented four sophomores — Lee, Sam Yom, Chan Park and Ryan Travers. There is also freshmen Martin Han and senior Graysen Kim.
All of them are capable of driving the ball 280 yards off the tee, reaching the green on a par 5 in two strokes and sinking 20-foot putts.
Quinn, who also coaches varsity girls soccer at NVOT and is in the New Jersey School Counselor Association Hall of Fame, said his young team is teaching him a thing or two about being a coach.
"These kids are so loose and carefree that I've learned to kind of let go and let things be," Quinn told Daily Voice. "They horse around on the chipping green before tee off and then go out and shoot par."
The Golden Knights will play in the state sectional match Tuesday with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Whether they win it or not, Quinn said the future looks bright.
"We could be a dominant force," Quinn said.
"And it's not because of anything I did," he added. "These kids are just natural golfers."
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