Crawfordsville’s Luke Ranard and the Southmont boys golf team are all set to compete in the Washington IHSAA Regional at Country Oaks Golf Course in Montgomery on Thursday.
Southmont placed second at last week’s sectional at Harrison Hills with a 357 while Ranard advanced as an individual by shooting an 81.
With having just senior on the team in Micah Korhorn, and just two total upperclassmen with Korhorn and Junior Carson McKinney, not many expected this young Mountie team to have the success they have had. Coach Bill Whalen credits their success to the way both Korhorn and McKinney have led the team this season.
“When we realized that we weren’t going to have a season last year, I told Micah that he’s going to be the only senior and that the team is going to rely on you for leadership,” Whalen said. “He did nothing but exceed my expectations this year and has been a great role model for these kids who’ve came up through our program.”
While they know the competition will be the toughest they’ve faced all season, that hasn’t stopped the Mounties from having goals they want to accomplish heading in to the meet. At this meet, they’ll be trying to accomplish those goals while also having fun as a team.
“I think we’ll just try to go out there and enjoy the experience,” Korhorn said. “It’s a privilege to get to be competing still. Most importantly we’re just going to try and have fun and play relaxed and if we meet our goal then we’ll see what happens.”
As they have done all season, Southmont will have a number they shooting for at the Regional. If that happens then coach Whalen and the rest of the team will be satisfied. With so many other talented teams, Southmont isn’t worried about what those teams do. The biggest opponent for the Mounties? Themselves.
“We’re playing against ourselves and trying to hit our goal because we still haven’t hit it yet this season,” Whalen said. “Overall its going to be a good experience for these guys and it may be eye opening with watching some of these teams. One thing I want them to take away from this is how those other teams play, compete and what it takes to be a really good team.”
Harrison Haddock, Nolan Allen, and Luke Tesmer are all getting their first taste of varsity golf since last season got taken away due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All three of them talked about getting to the Regional in their first year.
“I think it’s a big accomplishment for us since we didn’t get to play last year,” Haddock said. “It’s been a fun experience all season”
“For all three of us, I think it’ll be a good experience to see what the competition is like,” Allen added. “We’ll get to know what some of the scores will be and what we have to work toward in the future.”
“To see what we’ll be going up against will be good for us these next two years,” Tesmer said. “It’s a great opportunity to build off this good season that we’ve already had.”
Ranard has been called by Crawfordsville Coach Tom Perkins “Mr. Consistent” all season. That consistency has led to him competing at the Regional and heading in he’s looking to make himself known.
“I’m going in with the mindset of ‘why not me’,” he said. “The pressure is not on me to play well so I’m going to take this opportunity to just go out there and play a round of golf and hopefully things turn out well. I’ve worked a ton on my short game because that’s where you lose strokes is when you get onto the green.”
Perkins who has seen the progression of Ranard all season is happy that he will get the chance to be rewarded for all his hard work and dedication that he’s put into this season.
“No one deserves it more than Luke and no one works harder than Luke,” Perkins said. “Every day he does 200 chip shots and probably that many putts. Then he goes and puts what he’s learned on the practice green when he goes out and plays a round on the course. He’s been the cornerstone of our team the last few years.”
The Athenian team which expects to be just as competitive if not more competitive next season can benefit from seeing their teammate compete at a high level as they look to get to the Regional next season as a team.
“He’ll be the leader again next year and I’m hoping he takes what he learns and is able to bring it back to the guys,” Perkins said. “He’ll have to get all of our other guys to step it up and getting to play in a Regional should show him not only what he has to work on but hopefully our entire team.”
Ranard is expected to tee off at 8:50 while Southmont is scheduled to tee off at 9:50. The top three team scores and top five individual scores from non-advancing teams will qualify for the state meet next week.