Kaylie Porter and Nick O'Donnell led their respective teams to Vermont Division I golf state championships this fall. O'Donnell was an individual champion, as well, while Porter was the state runner-up in 2022.

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MANCHESTER —Burr and Burton Academy swept Vermont Division I golf at the state tournaments in 2022, with both the boys and girls teams claiming championships for the second consecutive year. Leading the way for the Bulldogs in this golf mini-dynasty have been Nick O’Donnell and Kaylie Porter, who just finished their senior seasons.

Though golf is a sport of individual efforts, it takes a team mentality for all of the athletes to get the most out of their abilities. In the case of the state tournament, it takes a team effort to bring home the trophy.

O’Donnell also won the boys individual state championship this year, shooting a 3-over 75 at Orleans Country Club, and besting Champlain Valley’s Bryce Bortnick by one stroke. That effort was also the key to BBA holding off CVU by four strokes in the team scores to defend their 2021 state title.

Though Porter’s strong round of 86 was not enough for the individual championship, it led the way for the BBA girls. Combined with Grace MacDonald’s 107, it was enough to defeat CVU by three strokes and a three-peat for BBA on the girls side.

Porter, the individual champ in 2020, has had a proverbial thorn in her side for the last two years in Mount Mansfield’s Namo Seibert. Seibert, now a sophomore, beat Porter by just one stroke at states last year, and shot an impressive 77 this year for a comfortable 9-stroke victory.

“I played with her all summer in Vermont Junior Tour tournaments, and I got her every single one except states. So yeah, that was frustrating,” Porter lamented.

Porter speaks very respectfully of her rival, though.

“[Namo is] playing super well. She’s super consistent, and that’s annoying,” Porter joked. “She was draining putts on me like every hole. She’d be in the worst situation and still make par.”

O’Donnell says in golf, he approaches it as playing against himself, but that everyday competition with his teammates drives him to improve, as well.

“You still want to beat your teammates, even in practice. So when you get to tournaments like states, you can really play your best because your teammates have gotten you to where you are,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for playing with my teammates.”

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Porter said her experience has been a little different, as there aren’t as many female golfers and most of the girls on the team were pretty new to the sport. That being said, the team dynamic made her better, as well, especially dealing with added pressure of being in a leadership role, showing drills to the younger players.

“I’ve been playing forever, so it was a little bit different for me where I was learning from teaching a little bit,” she said. “It was really cool because it would put pressure on me to try and perform something in front of the team.”

Clearly both competitors by nature, O’Donnell and Porter’s paths to success on the golf course have been a bit different. O’Donnell has lived in the area since he was three years old, and remembers taking lessons at Dorset Field Club since he was as young as five.

“Tennis has always been my main sport, so I wasn’t always as focused on golf,” said O’Donnell, who was also Division I individual champ in tennis last spring. “But when I was like 14, I started playing a lot every summer and started to like it more.”

O’Donnell also enjoys rock climbing, and will be part of BBA’s club team this winter. As different as the three sports sound, he says there is some definite carry-over to his other two sports, as rock climbing is very demanding on the biceps, forearms and core muscles.

O’Donnell says he is still waiting to hear back from several schools before he makes his plans for next year, but his hope is to get accepted to MIT, which has both Division III golf and tennis, and major in mathematics.

Porter got her start in golf in Providence, Rhode Island, playing at Metacomet Country Club, which was controversially closed in September of 2020. She moved to Manchester just prior to that and has been playing here ever since. The move has been beneficial to her since she is a ski racer in the winter. She also does karate and has been dabbling in jiu jitsu, of late.

Porter’s biggest passion is in sound and music editing, though. Though she plays piano and guitar, she says she doesn’t like performing, and much prefers making other people’s work better over being in the limelight. The irony is not lost on her.

“I know that sounds weird, but golf is just different for me.” she said. “I don’t feel the same pressure with golf. I think it’s just the repetition makes it easier for me.”

Porter has already committed to playing golf at Hofstra next fall, where she’ll be majoring in music business.

Tory Rich can be reached at trich@manchesterjournal.com

Follow him on Twitter: @ToryRich6


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