By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Hudson – Hudson High School (HHS) has seen an abundance of talented, multi-sport athletes compete for school honors over the years. Typically, the progression is football, soccer or cross country in the fall surrendering to basketball, hockey or track in the winter on to baseball, softball or lacrosse in the spring. Such is a sampling of the many cyclical combinations that exist in high school sports.
But golf into basketball? Not so much, say some area athletic directors. Not in anyone’s recent memory. It’s a combination you just don’t see that much.
Hudson High may be just that one notable exception.
“It’s not a novelty at Hudson. We’ve had maybe 10-12 golfers over the last two years that also play basketball,” said Athletic Director Jessica Winders.
Three-sport senior Andy Lenox is one of the school’s top athletes that does just that, in addition to competing on the varsity baseball team. Transition from the individual nature of golf to the team approach in basketball is never easy, Lenox admitted. There are less physical demands on the links than there are on the ever fast-moving court. Conditioning and becoming accustomed to basketball rigor begins right after his last golf swing but the sacrifice is worth it, he said.
“There’s definitely a lot more activity in basketball than there is golf. We have pre-season workouts for basketball and I’ll try to stay in shape but you can definitely feel like ‘wow, I’m in golf shape’ when basketball starts so it takes a lot of work to get in shape.
“I love playing all three sports and don’t know if I could pick one over another. It’s kind of season by season and once it comes around I try to prioritize it. I still practice all three through all seasons. It’s tough playing all three sports, especially golf into basketball but I love it.”
Lenox credits his mother, father and two younger siblings for their support and influence in helping him succeed in his chosen sports. He also gives props to the youth programs in town and the many coaches he’s had along the way. He’ll be a three-sport captain this year, an honor seldom seen, but his coaches collectively agree that what Lenox has done on the athletic stage coupled with his quality leadership style made the decision a virtual no-brainer.
“Andy’s attitude is second-to-none when it comes to team first,” said HHS golf coach Mike Notaro, whose team was league co-champion in 2016 while competing well in districts. “He’ll serve as a co-captain this year because of his will and determination to become a better golfer and teammate.
“Hudson is very fortunate to have a young man of Andy’s character. He leads by example on the course and more importantly in the classroom where he excels in the advanced placement program. As far as our goals for this year I believe we can build on last year’s success and take another shot at the league championship.”
“At the varsity level, I tell the kids that they’re here for a reason,” said Lenox of his approach to captaincy. “We have a few young guys on our teams that can step up and we tell them to just be ready.”
Besides his prowess as a leader, Lenox has the numbers as well. In golf, he carded a robust 41.7 average for nine-hole competition and in basketball he recorded 119 points and an 8.5 average per game while chipping in wherever coaches needed him. In baseball, he held down the left field position and finished with a stellar .344 batting average, good for seventh overall in Mid-Wachusett League B.
While his success in athletics has been important to him, Lenox has his priorities where many would argue they should be and that would be the classroom. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Junior Booster Club, and works hard to find time and be the best that he can be in all areas.
“It’s a matter of finding time whether going to the cage or the range or the driveway and shooting hoops even if it’s 10 minutes,” he explained. “The important thing is to practice all you can when you’re able to. I prioritize academics over athletics and try to find a balance.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else since I love Hudson and I love putting every jersey on that I do. It’s so fun to go out there in front of fans. Athletics is so much fun here. Our coaches are incredible and I have the best teammates.”