The Triton boys golf team will tee-off Tuesday in the State Finals as one of only two unranked teams in the field.
Don’t expect that to faze the Trojans in the least.
The small school powerhouse program, led by its outstanding duo of Quentyn Carpenter and Ryan Rapp, knows all about going head-to-head versus the big boys.
“My kids will not be intimidated,” said Triton coach Jack Carpenter Sunday. “We go to the big tournaments all season long and we’ve seen these teams before.
“The last eight to ten years we’ve had a very, very good program, especially for a 1-A school. We’ve got a great 1-2 combination with Quentyn and Ryan. We’ve proven we can do it as a team too.”
“I’m just elated to be going down there with the crew I have.”
The Trojans will be making the second trip to State in program history. Triton was also there in 2010 when Carpenter and Rapp both played as freshman. The Trojans shot 303 that day and failed to make the cut by six shots. Carpenter shot a one-over round of 71 and Rapp finished with an 81.
“I think this is some redemption for Quentyn and Ryan,” said Carpenter of a return trip to State for his two standouts.
This year, all 15 teams will play two rounds at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. Triton and Terre Haute North are the only two teams who are not ranked in the field, which includes No. 1 Columbus North and No. 13 Warsaw.
The Trojans were on the cusp of winning the program’s first-ever regional title Thursday at Stonehenge. Warsaw senior standout Jon Schram sank a dramatic 10-foot putt for eagle on his final hole to vault the Tigers into a team tie with Triton at 305. Warsaw won its second straight regional championship on the fifth-man tiebreaker score.
Ironically enough, Schram and Quentyn Carpenter (Jack’s son) plan to room together at Ball State.
“We have a lot of respect for Warsaw and kudos to Jon for doing what he did,” said coach Carpenter, who attended Schram’s Open House on Saturday.
Quentyn Carpenter and Rapp give the Trojans a dynamic duo that can compete with any team’s top pair. Carpenter shot 70 at the regional at Stonehenge and Rapp fired a 71. Rapp was medalist at the Warsaw Sectional a week earlier with a 68 and Carpenter shot a 72. The younger Carpenter is bound for Ball State and Rapp will play at Marian University. Rapp was medalist of both the NSC Meet and the Uebele Invitational this season, while Carpenter has been a four-year leader on the links for the program.
“We’ve got two No. 1 guys,” said coach Carpenter. “We’ve just got two guys who can really play. This year, they have been neck and neck.
“They are both low maintenance. I think some Division I schools missed out on Ryan. He is the more relaxed of the two. Quentyn is a golf rat. He has to spend two to three hours a day working on his game.”
For coach Carpenter, it will be a bittersweet couple of days.
“It’s difficult for me as I try to play coach and father,” said Carpenter. “I try to balance the two, but I spend a lot of time with our No. 3, 4 and 5 guys during play. I trust Quentyn completely. He’s so well grounded that he doesn’t need me. As a father, I probably should watch him more. It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing these are his last two rounds as a high school player for Triton.”
The Trojans got a strong effort at the regional from its No. 3 and 4 players. Junior Tanner Shepherd shot a 81 and classmate Lucas Shafer had an 83. Shepherd’s score was seven shots better than his sectional round and Shafer shaved four strokes from his performance the previous week. Freshman Greg Music completes the Triton lineup.
“Tanner is our wild card,” said Carpenter. “He’s capable of going out there and shooting in the 70s for us. Lucas is just quiet and unassuming. We joke that he doesn’t have a competitive bone in his body.”
Carpenter added that four of his five players, minus Rapp, went down to The Legends Sunday to play a practice round on their own. The entire team will have its practice round on Monday.
The Trojans, who will be paired with players from Westfield, Terre Haute North and Jasper, begin their first round Tuesday at 9:21 a.m. as Music tees off. Shafer is scheduled to begin play at 9:30, Shepherd at 9:39, Rapp at 9:48 and Carpenter at 9:57.
Carpenter says he’s not sure exactly what to expect come Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Quentyn is a great leader for us and I overheard him telling the guys the other day that they haven’t broken the school record which is 300,” related coach Carpenter. “I think that’s their goal going down there.
“I have no idea how it will play out. Hopefully, we just keep surprising ourselves and others.”