More heartbreak for NC golf, as Green Wave edged again for state title

COLUMBUS – That can’t happen two years in a row, right? But unfortunately for the Newark Catholic golf team, that’s what happened on Saturday.

The Green Wave once again took the lead in the Division III state tournament, this time over a rainy and windy Ohio, only to see it slip away late as Warren John F. Kennedy was rallying to defeating NC in one fell swoop to state. championship. They were also state runners-up last year, after leading on day two. But golf can be a fickle game. NC has never won everything.

This time, the teams entered the final day tied and the Green Wave began to pull away in the middle holes, leading by as many as 12 shots but unable to finish. JFK is 320-328 (648) to 320-329 (649) of NC. Youngstown Mooney was third, 21 shots behind with 668. Seven Hills Christian Academy, which defeated NC last year, placed seventh out of 12 teams.

Andrew LaPolla, one of three sophomores in JFK’s starting lineup, carded two birdies on the back nine, capitalizing on multiple bogeys by the Green Wave, including a triple bogey and another double bogey in the difficult conditions. The round was delayed by more than an hour.

“Most kids would switch right hands to finish with two finalists in a row,” coach Phil West said. NC also placed third in 2021 and made it to state in 2020, meaning the three seniors will have four straight state trips. “Yes, the conditions were difficult, but they (JFK) also competed and they beat us by one point. That shows how important every shot is.”

If the two teams tie, the Green Wave will win because they own the fifth person with a tiebreak score of 171-182.

“But for the second year in a row, we had our worst score of the season, on the final day,” West added. “The kids don’t try to do anything they shouldn’t do. They just take too many bad shots. From the beginning, they were on a mission to win and now they are suffering because they care. From day one there was a lot of pressure and they handled it very well. They want to represent LCL and their community. »

NC almost won despite Monday’s setback, when senior Brian Luft, the Licking County League Player of the Year, had his appendix removed. But he still pushed through it, even though he was in a lot of pain and couldn’t get 100%.

Classmate Max Vanoy led the Green Wave with a 75-80 (155), good for second team All-Ohio. Sophomore Bobby Kieber finished at 161 (81-80), junior Brogan Sullivan at 83-84 (167), Luft at 168 (83-85) and senior Nathan Riggleman at 169 (81-88 ).

“Brian played the type of character that he had and he was a tough kid,” West said. “Most kids say they can’t play. He wants to be with his brothers. I admire that kid.”

Luft’s teammates appreciated the effort but were not surprised. “When he first texted us on Monday, he said he was sorry and that he wouldn’t be able to play,” Vanoy said. “Then we got a text saying he was going to do it. That means a lot, because he’s obviously very important to our team.”

Sullivan said it showed how committed Luft was and how much he wanted to win.

“Every hole, you could see him holding his side, but he’s a fighter,” Sullivan said. “He’s a wrestler, and he once wrestled with broken ribs.” Luft was a three-time state wrestling qualifier and made All-Ohio this year.

NC’s seniors will continue their careers collegiately, with Luft headed to Barton, N.C., Vanoy to Tiffin and Riggleman will play at Findlay.

“They’re not only great golfers, but great kids,” West said. Added Sullivan: “They’ve meant everything to me, and playing with them has been a lot of fun. I would like to play in college as well.”

Sullivan, Kieber and Carter Hahn, the sixth man who has shown a lot of improvement, will return to try and lead NC back to the state tournament.

“I think Brogan is going to really light it up next year,” Vanoy said. “It will be exciting, to see what they can do to continue our legacy, and I’ll be watching them. I can see them getting back here for a fifth straight time.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.