Cats edge Rangers for another sectionalJune 4, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER - Jasper prevailed with its 13th consecutive sectional championship by amongst the thinnest of margins on Friday.
The Wildcats shot 333 as a team, just enough to outlast Forest Park's team score of 336 at Sultan's Run Golf Club. Both teams will be on their way to regionals, joined by Springs Valley's third place finish of 371.
However, the Rangers just missed out on their first-ever sectional championship, as the Wildcats now have their streak to a baker's dozen.
"We've had a bunch of kids over the years from when I've been here that have just worked their butts off," Jasper coach Caleb Begle said.
"We're pleased," Forest Park coach Chris Tretter said. "We can taste that, and that's a little bitter, but (I'm) proud of the boys. They stepped up and gave it a great effort today."
Tretter said any time someone leaves a golf match, they can point to when they missed a stroke or where they left one out - that a golf tournament isn't lost on one swing. He knew the scoring range was going to be what was presented, and given the wet conditions, he would've thought Forest Park would win if he knew the team would shoot a 336.
Jasper not only boasted another team sectional championship on Friday, but senior Nick Buechlein took home medalist honors. Buechlein went from shooting a 106 at sectional as a sophomore two years ago to leading the entire pack with a score of 76 on Friday.
He was the only golfer to finish with a score in the seventies.
"We didn't have a season last year, so I played a lot last year, like probably six days a week," Buechlein said.
Begle told the Herald that his senior golfer earned it, as Buechlein shooting a score like that to put the Wildcats over the hump is all the hard work he has put in.
For Southridge, it was the end of the line, as the Raiders were the only local team not to send anybody onto regionals. Leading the way for them was senior Aidan Blessinger, who shot a 97.
"He's been a big part of what we've done this year," Southridge coach Brock Matthews said of Blessinger. "He led by example for the team as far as work ethic. I think a there were a lot of guys (who) seen the way that he went about his business at practice, and just worked hard - put a lot of time in outside of practice. It's been to nice have him, he's a really good kid. He'll definitely be missed next year."
Matthews wants to stress the importance of his players playing in the offseason. He noted that the Raiders showed a lot of improvement, as he thought it might be a long year given some early practice scores. However, he credited them for how hard they have worked, and they kept getting better and better as the season went. Matthews hopes Southridge will keep the growth going into next year.
Heritage Hills junior Ethan Kane shot an 82, and will represent the Patriots on Thursday at the Champions Pointe Golf Club in Henryville for the Providence Regional. The Pats had a team score of 372, just missing out on going to the regional as a team.
Jasper and Forest Park will now prepare to compete at regionals as a team. Begle feels there's potential to advance somebody to state, but he knows the Wildcats will have to play well.
Meanwhile, Tretter touted some of his golfers that he felt could advance to state. Junior Cooper Uebelhor came in the individual second place with a score of 80, and Tretter believes Uebelhor can get to a 72.
However, he reiterated what he said before the season that his golfers have to have their A-game, and if senior Gavin Edele, or his son, Brant, a junior, have their A-game, they can get there.
"We're going to put in a good week of work," Chris said. "We'll go over there and have a practice round. All of our guys have been there before. So, we've gone over and played practice rounds there. So, we know what we're getting ourselves into."
"Our focus is going to be on enjoying the week," Begle said. "That's what we want to do, and give these guys to experience the opportunity to go the regional."
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