Cats copy past, unwrap title presentJune 8, 2012
By JOANNE NORELL
Herald Sports Writer
MONTGOMERY — Steve Milligan had a premonition.
The Jasper boys golf coach woke up Thursday morning and decided to repeat the regional routine of 1996. The Wildcats needed to leave from the same spot at Jasper Municipal Golf Course for the competition at Country Oaks Golf Club, and they needed to depart at the exact same time for an identical tee time as in 1996.
The fact the Wildcats didn’t claim a regional title back then was irrelevant. But whatever mojo Milligan foresaw coming from this ritual must have worked, as No. 8 Jasper topped a field including three other ranked squads and snared the crown this time, 16 years later.
“There’s nothing like winning one,” Milligan said. “The kids played outstanding golf today. A 296 is outstanding golf. Now they’ve got one more step in front of them this next first day of the state finals.”
The Cats’ team score of 296 resulted in the program’s second regional championship and first since 2008. Third-ranked Evansville Harrison (303) claimed second while No. 11 Heritage Hills (306) plucked the final state-qualifying spot in third place. Castle (312) and No. 10 Evansville Memorial (313) rounded out the top five and Linton (319), Southridge (327), Terre Haute North (327), Vincennes Rivet (331), Vincennes Lincoln (339), Washington (350) and Owen Valley (366) completed the field.
“It feels awesome,” said Jasper senior Ian Weyer, who shot a 74 and said it was the Cats’ priority to win coming into the day. “I’m just really, really happy right now and I don’t even know what to say. Everybody played great and, overall, it’s just a very positive thing going into state.”
Jasper junior Will Seger was the medalist for the eighth time this season, carding the only under-par score of the day with a 4-under 68. Dru Hein returned a 75, Michael Bies finished with a 79 and Cam Weyer shot a 91.
Seger, who verbally committed to Indiana University in December, got a shot of confidence as, for 10 holes, his audience included Hoosier golf coach Mike Mayer. Rather than create pressure for the Wildcat No. 1, Mayer’s support helped Seger remain focused on lifting Jasper to the title.
“All he did was help me,” Seger said. “It’s exciting. You get golf coaches out here and they come out to see you play and they’re not out here just to watch golf. ... It means a lot to me.
“I had an efficient round at Sultan’s Run at sectional and came here feeling OK with my game. (But) I putted great and whenever you’re putting good, hitting the ball OK, you’re set up for a good round no matter what. A few extra putts rolled in.”
Heritage Hills coach Marc Schum left the regional much more pleased than after last week’s sectional, when he called the Patriots’ round “below average.” Thursday’s performance more aptly met Schum’s standard as he credited his senior-heavy squad for sending Heritage Hills to its first state finals appearance.
“We played probably above average this week,” Schum said. “The course was playing hard and we played pretty well on the front nine and really got it together on the back nine and finished very strong.”
Nick Teaford led the Pats with a 74, Travis Waninger pocketed a 76 and Preston Van Winkle (77), Cody Van Winkle (79) and Sam Collins (96) rounded out Heritage Hills’ scorecard.
“We were all more consistent and I guess it just came together today,” Teaford said. “Our goal at the beginning of the year was to get to state and it didn’t matter how we did it, we just wanted to get there.”
It was something the Pats had been preparing for all year, as they’ve already visited The Legends of Indiana Golf Club in Franklin, the site of Tuesday and Wednesday’s state finals. “Just in case,” Schum said.
Southridge coach Brock Matthews was similarly pleased with the Raiders’ performance, as Beau Schneider returned a 77, Tyler Gray registered an 81 and Ian Mathies (84),Trey Reese (85) and Cleat Winkler (93) completed Southridge’s day.
For Matthews, what stuck out most was that each Raider did something to improve upon earlier season performances and he said Schneider played what was probably his best round ever. And with each golfer returning next year, Matthews is eager to see them use the summer to develop and possibly make a deeper run next season.
“The guys are committing themselves more to golf,” Matthews said. “We’re finally getting them out to play more outside of practice ... but our expectations are high. I’ve got high hopes for them next year and hopefully we can do everything we did this year and then more.”
As for Jasper, Milligan has no worries about his team’s focus when the Cats arrive in Franklin on Tuesday, and he made it clear they’ll concentrate on Day 1 before thinking ahead to Wednesday’s round, which will feature the field’s top nine teams.
That didn’t stop Seger from speaking of state title hopes. And with the way the Cats have played this season, it’s difficult to blame him from peeking ahead a bit.
“I think Steve will be happy with just making it to the second day, and that’s our goal,” Seger said. “But I think our ultimate goal is, and everybody knows it, is to win a state title. Our team’s good enough and we’re going to give it a good run. ... No matter what anyone says or thinks, we’re one of the best teams in the state.”
Contact Joanne Norell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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