After its players made the turn last year at the Class 5A boys golf tournament, Kapaun Mount Carmel was tied for the lead and it seemed like finally, after a six-year drought, the Crusaders could be champions again.
But Kapaun couldn't hold on and other teams made up ground in a hurry and the Crusaders took fourth at Emporia Municipal Golf Course.
The disappointment has never left A.J. Gebert, David Auer and Jack Cantele — Kapaun's talented trio that finished in the top five in the City League in scoring last year.
"Coming up short really hit home with us because we felt like we should have won," Auer said. "Being that close has been motivation for us to work hard and get back to that point again and come through this time."
In most cases, a four-person score of 293 would probably mean winning the tournament, but Kapaun fell into bad fortune as Andover Central tore up the back nine at Emporia and shot 289 to win 5A.
"We know that we shot our best round of the year and it didn't get us anywhere," Kapaun coach Dan Phillips said. "There were some events that unfolded for Andover Central and seeing those strokes go away has our guys knowing just how close we were. The incentive is there and we are on a mission to not feel that way again."
A year after playing at Southeast, Max Lazzo is back to fill the fourth spot in the Crusaders' lineup. Kory Glasgow, who played well toward the end of last season, makes Kapaun as deep as any team in the state.
"Having Max will take some pressure off Jack, A.J. and David," Phillips said. "Those guys knew last year they had to shoot at par. This year they don't have to go low, because Max will be right there with them."
"There is a feeling around here that we need to get things done," Gebert said. "We've had a lot of talent for a long time and things aren't going to be handed to us--we've got to go out there and win the big one."