Andover Central fought through the elements Monday, and once everything was figured out, the Jaguars were tied with Trinity Academy atop the Class 4A golf leader board.
The Jaguars, by virtue of the fifth golfer, pulled out the tiebreaker over the Knights, who beat Andover Central in last week’s regional.
”We didn’t let the conditions get to us (Monday),” Jaguars coach Doug Snyder said. “We battled, and we knew the value of every single stroke.
“We were just a little more mentally tough.”
Junior Jacob Wagner’s 87 was two shots better than Trinity’s Caden Vanlandingham and Jonathan Loon (both 89) in the tiebreaker, giving the Jaguars their fourth state title.
“Even though I wasn’t playing that great, especially in hard conditions like we had today, every stroke counts,” Wagner said. “Though it might not seem like it will matter in the end.”
Augusta’s Jake Becker was the top individual, winning a three-way tiebreaker for the state title after he finished at 75 with Peyton Austin of Rose Hill and Colton Massey of Larned.
And, all this was accomplished despite a steady light rain that included an hourlong delay because of lightning in the area.
It actually helped some of the golfers, among them Andover Central junior Keegan Ellington, who finished with an 82.
“I kind of started off rough, but I knew I could just keep grinding and get a good score,” he said. “I played really well after the rain delay and birdied my second-to-last hole, so it was an overall good day.”
That opinion wasn’t shared by teammate Peyton Wilson, who had a team-best 80.
“I wasn’t really happy with the way I played,” he said. “I’m just proud of my teammates, because they really stuck with it.”
Snyder said that the conditions only added to the challenge of the Wamego Country Club course.
“Very, very much so,” he said. “We’ve played some pretty tough competition all year long, and played some pretty tough golf courses, and I think that helped us out in the end.
“We’ve played in a lot of bad weather, so we’re kind of used to it. We’ve played in the wind, the rain and all that. We kind of like it that way. We think we have an advantage if the weather is bad.
“We’re looking forward to next year.”
Another key for the Jaguars was sophomore Davis Joseph, who improved his regional score by eight strokes with an 85.
“It was tough out there, but it was tough for everybody,” Joseph said. “So you just had to grind and make as many pars and make as many good shots as you could – and hope for the best.”
Joseph and senior Jacob Meeker also were on Andover Central’s boys soccer team, which finished third.
“It was a great year to graduate for both sports, getting third in state (in soccer) and then finishing first was the ultimate goal,” Meeker said.
With Andover Central and Trinity being mostly underclassmen, both teams are pointing for many repeated battles down the line.
“They played good; they’re young, we’re young,” Trinity coach Derrek Ziesch said. “It’s going to be a battle for a couple more years.
“It seems like we met up four times this year. Doug does a great job over there, and we’re going to be going head to head for a couple more years.
Ziesch said there were some teams who didn’t make it out of his team’s regional that deserved to be at state.
“I hope this gets KSHSAA’s attention,” he said.
At Wamego Country Club
Team scores: 1. (tie) Andover Central, Trinity Academy, 329 (Andover Central wins tiebreaker; fifth golfer shot 87; Trinity’s shot 89); 3. Wamego, 332; 4. Hays, 336; 5. Chanute, 339; 6. Hayden, 352; 7. Larned, 362; 8. Ottawa, 364; 9. Girard, 367; 10. Burlington, 369; 11. Tonganoxie, 387; 12. Wellington, 393.
Top individuals: 1. (tie) Becker, Augusta (won tiebreaker); Austin, Rose Hill; Massey, Larned – 79. 4. Ahlberg, Clay Center – 76. 5. Bontrager, Maize South – 78. 6. (tie) Vanlandingham, Trinity; Carlson, Chanute; Spears, Wamego; Loon, Trinity – 79. 10. (tie) Wilson, Andover Central; Calvin Dillon, Louisburg; Chase Dillon, Wamego – 80.