After capturing the Class A-Private state crown last spring, the Holy Innocents’ boys golf team took second this time around, falling off the top of the podium by only two strokes. They went into the event in Columbus as area champs – a title they have won the past three years.
Despite going in with momentum, coach Jason Rutledge said he knew the competition would be extra-tough this time around. He was right. After the first of the two days, there were six teams all within four strokes. The HI boys ended Monday afternoon in fourth, three strokes back.
The Bears moved up on Day 2, ending with great rounds from Cannon Crane (2-under 69), Jeff Klopfenstein and Bailey Means (73), and Nick Reddy (74). Cannon’s two-day performances were good for second place overall in the medalist department.
“We built on last year’s state title by having a growth mindset,” Rutledge said. “We didn’t dwell on last year’s success but focused just on trying to get better every day. Because of that, we were much more consistent as a team and lowered our team average as the year went on. We also knew going in there would be around eight teams that could’ve legitimately won the title. We had to continue our focus in the weeks between region and state.”
Besides those scoring at state, others on the 2019 roster included Justin Gahlhoff, Colin Edwards, Owen Malcolm, Graham Kennedy, Greg Hays, Hamilton James, Sam Medeiros, and Andersson Niepoky.
All contributed at one time or another in a regular season that saw HI bring home hardware in three separate tournaments, including a first-place finish.
The girls went into Columbus as second-in-area after taking fourth in state in 2018. Though they finished well off the first-place pack, HI still turned in an 11th-place finish in a more or less rebuilding year.
Rutledge assessed his Lady Bears with pride when looking back over the campaign.
“They improved all year, with every player shooting their personal best at one time or another. Taking second in area took a solid performance from all of them, and we went into state looking to build on that.”
There were four who factored in primarily this season – Elizabeth Dickson, Lexi Baker, Caitlyn Murphy and Mary Grace Tippett. Dickson was the leading player in her senior year and Baker occupied the #2 slot.