Normally, finishing first in the Division III sectional golf tournament is a big accomplishment in itself, but when your No. 2 golfer is injured, it makes it that much more impressive.
For Scott Miller's Belpre Golden Eagles, this was the case Wednesday at Jaycees Golf Course, as Miller discovered shortly before that match that Brennen Ferrell would be unable to go due to a soccer injury.
"We won the sectional and our No. 2 golfer didn't play," Miller said. "(Brennen) was able to putt before the match, but he hit a couple off the tees and decided he couldn't go. We were able to win by 15 strokes without him. In fact, if you took away our top scorer, we still would have won by five strokes. That says a lot about our team."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta’s Garrett Bertram attempts a putt at Marietta Country Club on Monday. To Bertram’s right is Warren’s Michael Sams and Tiger golf teammate Jeff Hensler. MHS opens up sectional play Monday at River Greens in West Lafayette.
It did not hurt the team's performance, however, as the Golden Eagles were still able to shoot a 334, tops at the tournament. Sam Petty was Belpre's top scorer, shooting an 81 on the day, while Alex Perry carded an 82 and Hayden Plummer shot an 84. Bryce Pittinger shot an 87, and Dakota Hoffman contributed a 91.
Belpre's top four golfers all finished in the top ten individually.
"We try to emphasize consistency," Miller said. "If we can shave a few strokes here and there, it can go a long way. (At Cumberland Trails), the greens are very fast. It's a very nice course. Guys that can make good golf shots, good things can happen."
It's on to district play for the Golden Eagles, who play Tuesday at Cumberland Trails at Pataskala.
"I'm very pleased with balance of our team," Miller said. "We had a mini-team adversity situation with Brennan being out, and we responded and still won."
Belpre also had Jackie Cunningham advance to the girls' district tournament, which is Monday at Pickaway Country Club. She finished third individually in sectional competition, shooting an 84.
The Waterford High golf team also had a successful showing Wednesday. The team finished second to Belpre, shooting a 349, while Brandyn Offenberger shot a 75 to earn medalist honors.
The entire Wildcat team moves on to district play Tuesday at Cumberland Trails. Head coach Josh Arnold was impressed with the performance.
"I thought we played great," Arnold said. "There were tough conditions, being wet and rainy. It was a great day for us. We're really young, and I thought the young kids really outdid themselves."
Along with Offenberger, Montana Brooker shot an 88, Brent Ginther a 91, and Cam Bosner a 95. After the solid outing, Arnold has high expectations for district play.
"We want to have a good showing," Arnold said. "I think that expectation is realistic. It will be a great experience for our young team. I'm sure there will be nerves, but we're gonna have a great time. The competition will be stiff, but we can hold our own."
Arnold also noted that Offenberger, who has played well all season long, gives the team an advantage.
"When Brandyn plays well, it gives the team an edge," Arnold said. "He's a solid No. 1 guy. There are more consistent teams out there that all shoot in the 80s, but with Brandyn at No. 1, when our younger guys bring their scores down, it gives us a great chance."
After the Warren Warriors claimed their first SEOAL championship in 22 years this season, they have their sights set on a good showing at the sectional tournament Monday at River Greens Golf Course.
Head coach Nathan Evans wants his team to focus on themselves and their scores in the postseason.
"We've had a good year," Evans said. "I told the kids to go and take care of what we can do. We can't control what other teams do. Just focus on us, and if it's good enough, we accept that."
The Warriors are led by Zack McKenna, Steve Farley and Adam Lang, who were All-SEOAL selections this season. Michael Sams, Reece Patton, and Alex Flesher have also made significant contributions to the team.
"Pretty much all of our guys played all summer long," Evans said. "We've had some really good scores, and some not so good scores. They're all capable of playing well, and shooting nice numbers. They just have to go and take it one shot at a time."
In preparation of the sectional tournament, the Warriors have had some experience on River Greens.
"We've played at the site a couple times," Evans said. "You try to get to know the course, and what to work on. Your short game has to be very good. We've also been working on lag putting."
On a team with four seniors, Evans wants his golfers to have fun in their final high school matches.
"We tell them to enjoy the experience," Evans said. "We've got four seniors who will be gone next year. We tell them they need to just enjoy it and relax."
The Fort Frye High boys team had a respectable showing in sectional play, finishing eighth out of 20 teams Tuesday.
Shon Smith, who has had a great season for the Cadets, will be advancing to district play after shooting a 77 (+5) to tie for medalist honors. Head coach Aaron Nesselroad believes Smith can make noise at the district Tuesday at Cumberland Trails.
"His chances are very good that he will get out," Nesselroad said. "He's played very well in tough conditions and he has mental toughness."
Marietta head coach John Doughty has done a good job in his first year, as the Tigers are playing well going into sectional play Monday at River Greens.
Coming off of a win Monday against Warren, Marietta defeated Zanesville and Cambridge Wednesday in a tri-match, without senior Jared Hammons. Doughty has high hopes for the team in the postseason.
"I feel the team is ready to compete," he said. "Any of our guys are capable of shooting well on any given day. They know what they're capable of. It's just a matter of putting it all together. I think they're ready to perform."
Hammons, who was named the ECOL Player of the Year in 2012, has collected medal after medal this season and will lead the team into sectional play.
"Jared has worked very hard," Doughty said. "He worked hard in the offseason, and he's worked hard throughout the season."
Also playing well for the Tigers is freshman Jeffrey Hensler, who has been on a surge in the second half of the season. Nick Thieman, Nathan Matheney, Garrett Bertram and Joe Broughton have also played vital roles on the team this season.
Doughty said even though there is more at stake at this time of the season, he won't try to make too many changes.
"I think we just try to get the kids as prepared as possible," Doughty said. "They've played for so long, I don't think you change anything at this point. Maybe you make changes to your approach depending on the course or weather, but that's it."