FRANKLIN – Triton’s Ryan Rapp proved he belonged with the big boys on the state’s biggest golf stage the past two days.
The small school standout made his final prep match one to remember in a big, big way.
Rapp, the definition of cool and composed, fired his second straight two-under par round Wednesday as the State Finals concluded at The Legends Golf Club.
Rapp, with his back-to-back rounds of 70, finished at an impressive four-under total of 140. That performance earned the humble star a fifth-place finish among the 100 golfers in the field for the 77th annual event.
“This is a great way to end it,” said Rapp shortly after finishing his round Wednesday. “It’s awesome. Right now, it’s kind of tough to wrap my mind around this. There are so many great players here.
“The highlight for me was just being here. I really didn’t have any expectations for myself when I showed up Tuesday. I just wanted to have fun today and everything was just icing on the cake for me.”
Rapp, as was his entire Triton team, was on fire through his first nine. He shot a three-under 33 with birdies on No. 12, 14 and 17.
“The first few holes today were frustrating because I couldn’t get any putts to drop,” Rapp said.
Rapp shot a 37 over his final nine holes Wednesday with three bogeys. The Marian University-bound standout finished on a high note though with a birdie on the final hole of a stellar senior season.
“I really didn’t make any putts until that last hole,” said Rapp, who earned All-State honors with his performance. “That birdie was a great way to finish.
“To shoot four under for the tournament, I’ll take it.”
Triton, making just its second State Finals appearance in program history, shot 304 Wednesday, nine strokes better than on Tuesday. The Trojans finished at 617 to place 14th in the final team standings, two shots ahead of Warsaw. The Tigers had edged Triton to win both the Warsaw Sectional and Warsaw Regional championships the past two weeks at Stonehenge.
The Trojans, which were one of just two unranked teams in the 15-team field, got strong play from star Quentyn Carpenter Wednesday. The Ball State-bound ace shot 73 to finish at 147. He had a 33 on his first nine Wednesday before taking a 40 over his final nine. Carpenter, who played at State along with Rapp in 2010, had two bogeys and then a double bogey six on his final hole of his final round.
Juniors Lucas Shafer and Tanner Shepherd answered the challenge for Triton, too, Wednesday. Shafer, the No. 4 man, shot 79, five strokes better than Tuesday. Shepherd, the No. 3 man, shot 82, three shots better than his first round. Freshman Greg Music shot 103 for the Trojans.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Triton coach Jack Carpenter. “They gave me all they had and that’s all you can ask for. It’s quite an accomplishment and quite a feat for us to be here competing with all these big schools.
“To shoot 304 is excellent for us. I was elated when we made the turn at 143 today. This final side was our Achilles Heel both days. I have to give Lucas and Tanner a lot of credit. Lucas was huge today with his 79. Kudos to him and Tanner both for hanging in there.
“Ryan and Quentyn played very similar today to what they did on Tuesday. Quentyn just could not make a putt.
“Ryan was fantastic the last two days. The last four weeks he was incredible. He had one heck of a run in the postseason for us. His demeanor never changes and he just has a quiet confidence.
“Ryan is so smooth and he doesn’t put himself in position to make big numbers. He just doesn’t make big mistakes. He’s such a great kid too. A lot of the bigger schools missed out on him. Marian is getting themselves a steal.”
Triton stars Rapp and Carpenter proved a small school can succeed with the state’s biggest school programs. The two, who are members of a Class of 2013 that totaled 56 students, both earned All-State honors for their outstanding senior seasons.
Warsaw, making its fifth straight appearance in the finals as a team, shot 313 Wednesday to finish at 619 and in 15th place.
Tiger coach Ben Barkey chose to look at the bigger picture for his No. 10 team, which tied for sixth place with a 625 a year ago.
“I have a great group of guys, who won the sectional and the regional this year,” said Barkey. “You have to be a big picture guy at the end of the season. Our goal is to compete at the state level and here we were again.
“If you would have told me before the season that we win the sectional and then win the regional on an eagle (by Jon Schram) after graduating Tyler (Ostrom) and Bennett (Hollar) from last year, I would have said sign me up.
“It’s a little frustrating that we shot on the high end of our average today, but am I disappointed? Absolutely not. I’ve got great guys who work hard and our three seniors have been a pleasure to coach. That’s what it’s all about in high school athletics. Everything else is icing on the cake.”
Seniors Tim Ahlersmeyer and Evan Cultice and junior Will Petro all shot 78 Wednesday. Sophomore Jonny Hollar shot 79 and No. 1 man Jon Schram struggled with an 81.
Schram, the hero of the regional championship thanks to his eagle putt on the final hole, finished at nine-over 153 for the tournament. Schram, who will play at Ball State, tied for eighth place among individuals in 2012 by shooting 147. Ahlersmeyer was at 154, Cultice 156, Hollar 159 and Petro 161 for the Tigers.
“It’s all about timing,” said Barkey about his team’s rough go of it Wednesday. “Will shot 78 today and that’s great. Two of these guys are back next year and I’m excited about the future for us with the younger guys we have in the program.”
Zionsville junior Adam Wood, who has committed to play at Duke, won the individual state title with an eight-under total of 136. He shot 68 for each of his two rounds. Floyd Central senior Devin Jenkins was runner-up at 137, with Westfield sophomore Timmy Hildebrand and Jasper senior Will Seger tied for third at 138. Rapp rounded out the top five with his two-day total of 140 for Triton.
No. 4 Westfield shot a state record 575 to claim its first-ever boys golf state title. The previous low was 587 by Avon in 2009 and also by Richmond in 2003.
No. 1 Columbus North was second with 577, followed by Floyd Central (580), Jasper (591), Noblesville (592), Avon (594), Fort Wayne Dwenger (604), Hamilton Southeastern (604), Evansville Memorial (604), Pendleton Heights (608), Carmel (611), Valparaiso (612), Terre Haute North (615), Triton (617) and Warsaw (619).