Ian Trebilcock and Camron Chugg have yet to celebrate their 16th birthdays, which makes them young by most standards.
But on a golf course, where they’ve been honing their games for years now, they are not wobbly at the knees or nervous on big stages. They are skilled marksmen, as they proved Monday afternoon on a sticky hot day at Cheney’s Cherry Oaks Golf Course.
Collegiate, with four players still waiting to apply for their driver’s licenses, turned Cherry Oaks into their own playground, using four rounds of 76 or better to win the Class 4A championship with a team score of 299 — six strokes better than the defending state champs from Kansas City Piper.
Collegiate has now won 17 state championships and seven in the last eight years. It is the Spartans’ first title in 4A, however.
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“I don’t think anybody knew how this team would handle playing under the pressure,” Collegiate senior Riley Kemmer said. “They’ve played great all year, but there’s a lot more pressure riding on the state tournament. It was pretty amazing to see them handle it as well as they did.”
Chugg was brilliant in his even-par round of 72, which won him a spot in a three-way playoff with Iola’s Kaden Macha and KC Piper’s Montana Fasching for the individual championship.
Macha took home the title on the first playoff hole, the Par 4 No. 1, when Chugg and Fasching both missed the green and took bogeys. Chugg defeated Fasching in the second playoff hole to claim second overall.
“It’s a little disappointing, but second place is still good,” Chugg said. “Kaden is a great guy. If I was going to lose to anybody, I would want it to be to Kaden.”
Collegiate coach Kevin Reed figured he could count on two good scores from Chugg and Kemmer and they delivered with Chugg registering the low score of the day and Kemmer finishing 14th overall at 76.
That’s a solid foundation to build upon, but Trebilcock and fellow freshman Jack Larsen did more than just tack on — they built their own foundation. Trebilcock fired a round of 75 to take 11th and Larsen broke 80 for the first time all season and did so in grand fashion, shooting a 76 to round out the Spartans’ four-man score.
“I knew we would be in the conversation,” Reed said. “But for two of our freshman to shoot what they shot in this tournament, that’s pretty special. It’s not surprising, but it was a very good performance by them.”
Considering Collegiate’s pedigree and the fact it has five of its six varsity players returning, it was difficult for Reed not to be excited about the future.
But for Kemmer, the team’s lone senior, it was a time to soak in his final moment as a high school athlete.
“Not many people can say that their last high school competitive event ended on a win,” Kemmer said. “There’s only one team in each division that’s going to win their last event. So being a senior and having this happen, it’s a very special moment.
Circle’s Dominic Lara saw his putter fail him, but he was able to manage the damage and shoot a 2-over-par 74 and took second in a five-way playoff to finish sixth overall.
“It was a good score for just grinding it out,” Lara said. “That’s the one thing about this one-day thing. It’s good and bad. I could have had a really good day and won, but today wasn’t my best.”