Six years have gone by since the Kapaun Mount Carmel boys team lost a match or tournament in the City League.
Much of that success is due to having bona fide No. 1 players like junior Sam Stevens, who claimed individual honors on Wednesday at the City League tournament with a 1-under-par 71 at Auburn Hills Golf Course.
But the Crusaders have won six straight league titles because of players like Alex Graf, who completed his journey from junior varsity to finishing in second, behind Stevens, at the league tournament.
“It means a lot to play varsity on this team,” Graf said. “(Wednesday) felt really good. I feel like I’m finally playing my game and I’m playing the best golf of my life right now.”
Never miss a local story.
Kapaun won with a team score of 301 strokes, as its top five — Stevens, Graf (75), Matthew Gillbaugh (77), Nick Auer (78), Jared Burns (78) -- finished in the tournament’s top six.
Bishop Carroll was 15 strokes behind in second place, with Heights finishing third with a team score of 316, one behind Carroll.
The Crusaders’ consistency threatened to turn the day’s events monotonous, but Luke Gannon of Heights provided a highlight.
On No. 7, a 135-yard par 3, Gannon hit a punch 7-iron with a slight fade that dropped six inches left of the hole and trickled in for a hole in one.
Gannon finished ninth with a 79.
“I guess I hit it perfect,” Gannon said. “I actually didn’t think it was going to roll in, so it was pretty crazy. I’ll definitely remember that for the rest of my life.”
With the tees moved forward, players were forced to leave their drivers in their bags and rely on their long irons.
While it limited the games of some others, Stevens was able to thrive.
He parred every hole on the front-9, then closed with three birdies in the final nine to finish six strokes ahead of his group, consisting of other team’s No. 1 golfers.
“I feel like I hit the ball really well, especially off the tee,” Stevens said. “I was putting myself in good position and I gave myself a lot of easy pars today.”
Then again, a lot of things came easy for the Crusaders.
“It’s a sign of our consistency,” Kapaun coach Dan Phillips said. “We know Bishop Carroll is always going to be there, Heights is always going to be there, Northwest is always going to be there. So for us to make it six straight today, it’s a good show of our consistency and dedication from a lot of great kids over the past six years at Kapaun.”
At Auburn Hills
Team scores—Kapaun Mount Carmel 301, Bishop Carroll 316, Heights 317, Northwest 348, East 354, North 378.
Individual medalists—1. Stevens, KMC, 71; 2. Graf, KMC, 75; T3. Haight, Heights, 77; T3. Gilbaugh, KMC, 77; T3. M. Iseman, BC, 77; T6. Auer, KMC, 78; T6. Burns, KMC, 78; T6. Sander, BC, 78; 9. Gannon, Heights, 79; T10. Towey, BC, 80; T10. Eliassas, Heights, 80.
First team—Sam Stevens, Kapaun; Caleb Haigh, Heights; Matthew Gilbaugh, Kapaun; Nick Auer, Kapaun; Carter Towey, Carroll; Jared Burns, Kapaun.
Second team—Alex Graf, Kapaun; Matt Sander, Carroll; Max Iseman, Carroll; Luke Gannon, Heights; Nate Chadd, Carroll; Parker Wellborn, Northwest.
Honorable mention—Levi Iseman, Carroll; Zach Pitcher, Heights; Evan Lay, East; Joseph Hayes, Kapaun; Bobby Armstrong, Carroll; Sage Elassais, Heights; Eric Ewers, Kapaun; Blake Heiman, East; Evan Hutfles, Heights; Steven Harshberger, Carroll; Caden Pauls, Northwest; Casey Traffas, Northwest.