From neighborhood street hockey to youth soccer, and, eventually, golf, Liam Caspar has known his best friends for over a decade. They grew up with sports and the competition among each other has been a constant, even in video games or backyard pick-up basketball.
“We might be the most competitive people you ever meet,” said Caspar, who is graduating from Williamstown High School this month. “Even in playing (golf) practice rounds, we don’t like losing. That just makes you get better. After playing with these guys for the last six years or so, we just learned from each other. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and we all help each other in getting better at our weaknesses. I think that all makes us better as one.”
The special bond between the Braves golfers – Liam Caspar, his twin brother, Sean, junior Tyler Geatens, and fellow seniors Stephen Burek and Eric McCoy – helped Williamstown’s team make history, collecting the first state title in program history. The competitive atmosphere and ticking clock of senior year also brought out the very best in Liam Caspar in the final two months of his high school career.
Caspar was a Group 4 sectional champion, shooting a 69 (three under par) at Charleston Springs in Millstone; he was the runner-up both at the Tri-County Conference tournament and in the Carl Arena/Al Rifkin Memorial Tournament, South Jersey’s premier midseason event; and at the Tournament of Champions, Caspar’s 78 was the second-best score among South Jersey golfers, and Williamstown collectively finished with the best score of any public school in the state.
It was a remarkably consistent season of excellence for Caspar, culminating with another honor: He has been named the South Jersey Sports Weekly Boys Golfer of the Year.
“I was injured at the beginning of the year, so to come back and help my team accomplish all of this, it means the world to me to get this award,” said Caspar, who played through back pain related to a basketball injury when the golf season got underway. “Going into the season, I didn’t think I’d have this great of a season. It’s insane to shoot two 69s in tournaments and to stay consistent in the low 70s, with one round over 75. It definitely means a lot to me and my family.”
Caspar is in a family full of golfers: his older brother, Aidan, also golfed and his father Fred, a self-taught golfer, taught his sons the game. And he will continue his athletic career at Cabrini University along with his brother, Sean, next year. Sean Caspar actually had a better nine-hole average than his twin brother this spring but it was Liam who took his game to a different level in tournament play.
Before shooting a 69 at Running Deer in Pittsgrove Township to place second behind Clearview’s Gage Wolfle in the conference tourney, Caspar shot a previous round of 69 when his team needed him the most. In the Group 4 sectional championship tournament, Geatens had to withdraw because of an illness and the Braves had to compete shorthanded.
Liam Caspar rose to the challenge and Williamstown won by one stroke.
“Knowing that I’m a leader and one of the better players on the team, I know I have to step up in those types of situations,” he said. “I don’t let the pressure get to me as it does to some people. So it’s up to me to go out there, play my best and go as low as possible.”
“I think Liam has a unique ability in clutch situations to turn that nervousness that most people feel into adrenaline to focus more,” said Williamstown coach Tim Rue. “It’s an amazing quality, but I think it’s why he performs so well in tournaments. I think it’s also the confidence, or for lack of a better word, the swag he naturally has.”
The confidence grew with each passing tournament, and Caspar and his friends rode it all the way to the program’s first state championship and a memorable showing at the Tournament of Champions.
“We were the best public school, which was by far, way higher than we had set our eyes on,” Caspar said of the team’s T of C score. “Going into this season we were slept on by most people, we weren’t even top 10 in the state out of all schools. So to be the best public school, it’s insane I think.”
Insanity, in this case, is reality. And it’s an experience Caspar and his lifelong friends won’t soon forget.
“We knew this was the last year for four of the five of us,” he said. “We’re the key to our team, so we wanted to go out with a bang.”
Over the next two weeks, South Jersey Sports Weekly will be honoring the best
athletes from each of the 10 spring sports as well as the best male and female teams
of the season. The selections were made from a collection of high school athletes
from the 20 towns and approximately two dozen schools within SJSW’s Sun Newspaper coverage area. Each of the Player of the Year and Team of the Year stories will appear in
either the June 19 issue or June 26 issue of South Jersey Sports Weekly.
Congrats to Braves Boys Golf…2019 NJSIAA Group IV State Champions! Liam Caspar shoots 78, Sean Caspar shoots 84, Steve Burek shoots 82, and Tyler Geatens shoots 78 to bring home the title!! pic.twitter.com/UdoOlbT1Ss
— Williamstown AD (@BravesScores) May 20, 2019