LAFAYETTE — Up against the best teams in the state at the IHSAA Boys Golf Regional, all four area teams were represented Friday at Coyote Crossing in Lafayette. While no one will be advancing to the State Finals, all four teams enjoyed one final round of golf. North Montgomery and Southmont were both there after placing second and third respectively at last week’s sectional at Harrison Hills in Attica. Joining the Chargers and Mounties as individuals were Crawfordsville sophomore Tanner Gilland and Fountain Central’s Jaylin Payne.
Southmont ended their season shooting a 363 which was good enough for 10th place overall. Leading the way for the Mounties was senior Nolan Allen. In his final meet in a Mountie uniform he carded an 85 which led all Montgomery County golfers at the Regional. Fellow senior Luke Tesmer shot a 92. The Mounties third and final senior Harrison Haddock ended his career with a par on 18 and shot a 93. Freshman Austin Foley concluded his first year of varsity golf with a 93 as well.
“I felt like if we could finish in the top 10, which we ended up doing, I would be really happy regardless of what the score was,” Southmont coach Bill Whalen said. This is by far the longest course we’ve played on all year and it sounded like our kids struck the ball pretty well, it was just that when we got on the greens that was where some of our problems were. I’m real proud of all of them and to sneak in the top 10 like we did, I’m thrilled.”
The season being over does officially end the careers of Allen, Tesmer, and Haddock for the Mounties. It’s been a run that has seen the group achieve qualifying for the Regional all three seasons (No 2020 season due to COVID) including winning a sectional title a year ago. Whalen did get a little emotional when trying to sum up what his seniors have meant to the program and what they leave behind.
“I don’t think you can even start to replace kids like this,” Whalen said. “We’ve won a sectional title, multiple county titles and about the only thing we weren’t able to do was a conference title and I feel bad for this awesome group of kids who didn’t get to experience that. “
North Montgomery ended what was a history making 2023 season by shooting a 390. Alex Chapman and senior Drew Norman led the way for the Chargers as they both shot 96. Neal Jeffery and senior Hayden Turner both shot 99’s. Fellow senior Haze Kashon carded a 103 in his final meet as a Charger. This past season was one to remember for the Chargers. They won the first Sagamore Conference title in school history while also winning the Covington Invite. Their appearance at Friday’s Regional was the first time since 2006 that the Chargers advanced that far.
Second-year coach Bob Ryker talked about the year that was for his team while also thanking his three seniors who were instrumental in the memorable season.
“These three seniors mean the world to me and they’ve set the tone for the program these last two years,” Ryker said of Norman, Kashon, and Turner. “A huge thank you goes out to them because without them none of this was possible. We’re obviously going to miss them because they’re great golfers and even greater guys to be around. This entire year has been nothing short of amazing. Winning the conference for the first time in school history is something this group can hold onto forever. We have nothing to be upset about because of all that we accomplished this year.”
Gilland ended his day with an 88. The appearance at this year’s Regional made it two straight seasons that the Cville sophomore as made it this far. Gilland began the day with a 40 on his first nine holes, but struggled slightly on the back nine. Crawfordsville coach Tom Perkins knows while his standout sophomore won’t like how he ended the year, he should still be proud of his accomplishments.
“Tanner has been consistent all year long for us,” Perkins said. “He did have a bad stretch on the back where it did snowball on him for a bit. The good thing about Tanner is that he’s going to learn from this and will waste no time getting back out on the golf course. I think he forgets sometimes that he’s only a sophomore and still has two more years to grow as a player. He’s been here the last two year and now knows what to expect. This isn’t an easy course to play and I’m still pleased with how he ended his season.”
Payne rounded his first Regional appearance with a 96 for the Mustangs on the day.
That puts a bow on not only the boys golf season, but the entire sports season for our area teams. Best of luck to all the seniors of all of our teams in their future endeavors.
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