WARSAW — Through several battles over the 2019 season, Warsaw golf had never gotten the better of Triton. Not until Saturday, that is.
The Tigers posted a 318 to Triton’s 320 to grab the third and final ticket out to next week’s Plymouth Regional on both teams’ home course at Rozella Ford.
Culver Academies posted four scores in the 70s led by individual medalist Michael Perea’s 71 to win Saturday’s Warsaw Sectional with a dominant score of 300, while Columbia City surprised the field with a 314 for team runner-up honors, and the hosts earned the final berth at regional. Manchester shot 330 to finish sixth, followed by Wawasee’s 343 in seventh place, Whitko carded 357 in ninth place, and Tippecanoe Valley put up a 394 in 10th place.
“That was a nail-biter,” said Warsaw coach Rich Haddad. “We knew there’s five really good teams that certainly on any given day could move on so we just knew we had to be one of the top three that had a good day. Boy, that was tight. We’ve been against Triton several times this year and haven’t beaten them, so to nip them today kind of extra special.”
The Tigers were paced by freshman Cal Hoskins, whose round of 73 netted him individual runner-up honors at the sectional meet.
“Cal, for a freshman, has a very mature game,” said Haddad. “He understands what it takes to get the ball in the hole. He would say he didn’t have a great day hitting off the tee, but he found a way to make it work.”
Next up came Warsaw’s number five, Jack Yeager, and his round of 78. With Triton and Plymouth both threatening to pick up the remaining two regional appointments behind CMA, Yeager’s round was needed Saturday as Zach Lalonde struggled with an 87 in the second spot in the lineup, Tucker Carlile carded 89, and Chase Byron turned in an 80.
“Jack Yeager, as our five guy, this is his best round of the year, so what can I say? He saved his best for really when we needed it because a couple of the other guys needed picked up, and to see Jack shoot a 78 today, we had to have it,” Haddad said. “Wouldn’t have gotten out without it, so really proud of him.”
Triton’s fourth-place finish just two strokes shy of the rival Tigers was particularly frustrating given the fact that the Trojans weren’t at full strength Saturday.
With Keegan Westafer and Carter Koontz sidelined with illness and a back injury, respectively, Brock Watkins and John Gardner stepped into the lineup. Coach Jack Carpenter wasn’t making any excuses for his team’s finish, however, and Triton’s golfers had plenty of chances despite the lineup shifts.
“Our depth was good most of the year through seven kids, so every kid will tell you — maybe other than Chase (Butler) — there was something out there that they could’ve come up with two strokes easily,” said Carpenter. “Whether it be a triple bogey, double bogey, quad, whatever it was out there, that they could’ve easily been at 318, and we would’ve beat them on fifth man. They were still in the hunt right there so give them credit for battling for 18 holes.”
If Butler wouldn’t have admitted to leaving shots out on the course, it’s because he fired a very solid 74 to earn one of three regional berths reserved for individuals from non-advancing teams.
“That’s his best round for us this year. He’s had signs of really good rounds, and ironically we talked to him last night about how he was the key today,” recalled Carpenter. “We really thought that one and two would play well today and then we thought if he played well it would make up for the four and five kids. Unfortunately, one and two didn’t play as well as they should have.”
Cole McKinney gave the Trojans a 79, Beau Hepler shot 81, Brock Watkins carded 86l, and John Gardner’s 87 was the team’s toss-out.
“It was a great season for the kids. Credit to our seniors, they’ve been here for four years. They won four tournaments this year, conference champions, which is great, always one of our goals,” said Carpenter. “Obviously not getting out of the sectional is going to be a disappointment, especially when it’s as close as it is, but I think they finished the season 14-2, maybe in there, in our dual, three-way, whatever you want to call it, and had some very good rounds. So they’re not leaving empty-handed; they’re leaving with some nice credentials behind them.”
Wawasee was unable to put up a single sub-80s round Saturday.
Evan Dippon led the team with an 83 playing in the third flight, while Zach Leedy and Caden Welty each turned in 85s. Tyler Bosstick shot 90, and Dillon Drake’s 98 was the Warriors’ fifth score.
Cade Brouyette nearly made the cut out for Valley with his round of 76 but wound up one stroke back of Manchester’s Harley Krushwitz, who grabbed the last individual appointment at the Plymouth Regional. Mason Purvis shot 96, Bryce Madeford carded 101, and Billy Gillman and Johnny Gonsalez both shot 121 for the Vikings.
Behind Harley’s 75, Owen Kruschwitz shot 77 for Manchester, while Klayton Hendrix shot 87, Konrad Borgmann carded 91, and Mathias McLaughlin put up a 102.
Whitko was paced by Kylar Bryant’s 82 and Jonathan Strayer’s 89. Dale Reiff shot 93, Cade Bechtold shot 94, and Storm Baldridge shot 129 for the Wildcats.