And it had nothing to do at all with the fact that the Tigers finished in a tie for sixth place as the two-day event wrapped up at The Legends Golf Club.
Warsaw’s lineup showed class and character in handling a tough final round which saw the No. 7 Tigers fall back after being in contention just four shots off the lead after Tuesday’s opening round.
Junior Jon Schram led Warsaw with a two-day total of 147 as the Tigers shot 625. Warsaw shot 318 Wednesday after a 307 Tuesday.
No. 3 Evansville Harrison, led by individual state champion Sean Stone, captured its first state title with a two-day total of 611. No. 2 and two-time defending state champion Brebeuf was second at 614.
Stone shot a three-under 69 Wednesday to finish at 140 for the finals, three shots ahead of Evansville Central sophomore Dylan Meyer (143). Stone, the No. 2 man for Harrison, made five straight birdies to begin his final round Wednesday en route to seven birdies on his first nine as he shot an amazing seven under 29.
Harrison, with all seniors in its five-man lineup, was eight strokes back and tied for seventh place starting play Wednesday before storming to take the title.
WCHS coach Ben Barkey was able to look at the big picture for his program, which finished in seventh place at state in 2011. Barkey, a former player, WCHS grad and coach of the 2005 Tiger team that won a state title, liked the attitude of his team on a day that not everyone in the field was exactly displaying very good behavior and course etiquette, including a couple of players from the runner-up Brebeuf team, which was paired in the grouping with Warsaw Wednesday.
“I’ll take these guys I have and sixth place anytime,” said Barkey, who had his team in the State Finals for the fourth straight year and seventh time in the last nine. “I’m very lucky to have great kids from great families. They handled adversity with class today and that’s what sports is all about. I’m happy with how they represented Warsaw.
“We would have loved to finish on the podium today, but life’s too short to be disappointed for very long. You have to look at what these guys did all year in winning the NLC, sectional, regional and six invitational titles in a row.
“It just goes back to the big numbers today. It’s weird to see us put those up here, but that’s golf. Those big numbers kill everything, including your momentum. But the guys bounced back and handled everything well. The teams that finished ahead of us just stayed away from some of those big numbers on holes that we had today.”
“I’m exicted to have another year with Jon and Tim (Ahlersmeyer) and several more years with our younger players. Jon is legit. The two rounds of 80 he shot here last year were a fluke. We have a nice returning core group for next year and our JV was very good. I think they could have played here Tuesday. We’re still going to be a thriving program with a the same goal of competing at the State Finals again next year.”Senior Tyler Ostrom, who won the individual state title in 2011, shot 80 Wednesday on the par 72 layout. The Ball State bound standout finished at 152 after shooting 137 in 2011, which included tying the state finals and course record at Legends with a first round of nine-under 63.
“I’m proud of how the guys handled things today,” said Ostrom. “We have a great group of guys all the way up and down throughout the program and I’m happy to say they are my teammates. They’re all classy.
“I felt like I let the team down today. I didn’t play well. I’m our No. 1 and I should have our No. 1 score. This was about the team the last two days. I wasn’t worried at all about the individual stuff. That didn’t matter to me. I know all of us are disappointed with today. I felt like I hit the ball the same as yesterday (Tuesday when he shot an even par 72). I just caught a couple bad breaks and made a couple bad swings that cost me.”
Bennett Hollar also capped his prep career Wednesday for the Tigers. The No. 4 man shot 84 to finish at 164. Hollar, like Ostrom, played in the State Finals all four years at WCHS.
“It’s been awesome to play with such good guys on such good teams the last four years,” said Hollar, who will play at Wheaton College. “Tyler and I are blessed. I know I’m disappointed that we didn’t finish where we wanted to. It was a rough day for me. I had some big numbers on the front nine and then I just was not making putts on the back.”
Barkey praised his two seniors for much more than just their skills on the links.
“Tyler and Bennett are just great individuals,” Barkey said. “They are both just awesome people.”
Schram was a changed man in tying for eighth place in the individual standings this year. He shot back-to-back rounds of 80 in 2011. This year, he came in at 73 Tuesday and 74 Wednesday. Schram shot a 35 over his final nine holes Wednesday to finish strong.
“I feel really good about how I played,” said Schram, who earned All-State honors along with Ostrom (who was tied for 14th place). “I had a good two days. I had never broke 80 before here. I’m very excited about the future. I have about six big events to play in this summer and I want to contend at this level next year.”
Penn was the only other area team to make the cut Tuesday from the original field of 21 teams. The Kingsmen shot 321 Wednesday to finish in ninth place with a two-day total of 633. Senior Grant Spiritoso and junior James Schwartz each shot 77 to pace Penn Wednesday.STATE FINALS
The Legends Golf Club, Franklin
Par 72, 6,736 yards
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
Evansville Harrison 311-300-611, Brebeuf Jesuit 305-309-614, Jasper 311-304-615, Columbus North 303-315-618, Floyd Central 308-313-621, Warsaw 307-318-625, Cathedral 308-317-625, Carmel 309-317-626, Penn 312-321-633, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger 313-326-639.
Sean Stone (Evanwsville Harrison) 71-69-140, Dylan Meyer (Evansville Central) 69-74-143, Jon Williams (Cathedral) 71-73-144, Rylan Porter (Plainfield) 73-72-145, Andrew Havill (Carmel) 71-75-146, Wilson Pahud (Brebeuf) 71-75-146, Alex Turner (Evansville Harrison) 72-74-146, Jon Schram (Warsaw) 73-74-147, Daniel Shephard (Floyd Central) 75-72-147, Max Gagnier (Brebeuf) 74-74-148.
Tyler Ostrom 72-80-152, Jon Schram 73-74-147, Tim Ahlersmeyer 82-80-162, Bennett Hollar 80-84-164, Jonny Hollar 86 (in first round Tuesday), Jared Essig 86 (in final round Wednesday).