Friends and prodigies: pair leads Albany Academy golf

Sports

COLONIE, N.Y. — Since the start of last season, the Albany Academy girls golf team hasn’t lost a single match. The ongoing win streak is due in large part to the pair of prodigies leading the way.

Nicole Criscone and Kennedy Swedick grew up together. Their mothers are colleagues, and since they were toddlers, the girls have been side by side at birthday parties and on a downhill ski racing team.

When Criscone was five, she picked up golf, and a few years later, Swedick followed suit. At 10 years old, Criscone was off to Augusta National for the Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship before the Masters. The following year Swedick, who’s a year younger, once again followed Criscone’s footsteps.

Albany Academy golf coach Sarah Adamowski calls the girls, now a freshman and sophomore in high school, “little stars of the school.” Their talent is only matched by their temperament, taking the spotlight in stride.

“You wouldn’t even know that they’re two of the top golfers in New York state,” Adamowski said from the practice green at Colonie Country Club. “They’re very humble. They really are. They’re friends with everybody.”

They’ve maintained their friendship with each other, while developing a healthy respect for each others’ games.

“We’ve always been competitive with each other and it’s really fun playing with someone I’m really close to,” Criscone explained after calling Swedick “a really good player.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Swedick said, “Playing with Nicole’s always fun. We just like to have fun on the golf course. We always challenge each other. Nicole’s such a great player.  And we both learn from each other, and we push each other to do our best, and it’s really great.”

Making history last year, Albany Academy followed up an undefeated season with a team title in the inaugural Section 2 girls golf championship, with Swedick and Criscone the winner and runner-up respectively. Adamowski says the two are typically within a stroke or two of each other, but they’ve never let the competition get in the way of their mutual support.

“We want the best for each other,” said Criscone.

Swedick qualified for the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship in Louisiana next month, which will air on the Golf Channel. At just 13 years old, and Criscone, 14, their futures are incredibly bright.

“I see LPGA for sure, as long as they want to,” said Adamowski. “Right now if they continue the same path they’re going down, without a doubt that should be within their reach.”

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