WASHINGTON — Montgomery County was well represented down in Washington at Country Oaks Golf Club on Thursday at the IHSAA Boys Golf Regional. After capturing the sectional title at Attica last weekend Southmont another appearance at the Regional. The Mounties were joined by Crawfordsville who took qualified with a third place finish of their own. Against the toughest competition of the season both county teams saw their successful seasons come to an end as CHS shot a season-best 342 while the Mounties ended the day with a 371.
Crawfordsville was led by Luke Ranard who in his final meet of his high school career carded a 78 for the Athenians. Freshman Tanner Gilland shot an 81 while fellow senior Landon Timmons recorded an 82. Hayden Jeffries shot a 101 and the third and final senior for the Athenians in Landon Hurt shot a 102.
“Today was a great feeling,” Crawfordsville coach Tom Perkins said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this bunch and I told them before we went out to just go have some fun. We wanted to finish the season on a high note as best that we could. My top three guys in Ranard, Timmons, and Gilland played lights out. They were really consistent and that led to our best score of the year on probably one of the harder courses that we’ve played on. I’m thrilled to death with how we ended what was a great season.”
Ranard after qualifying for the Regional as an individual a season ago, made it a goal to get the team to the Regional in his final season. That was a season-long goal not just for him but for the entire Athenian team. CHS will graduate Ranard and Timmons (both who’ll go on to play at Wabash), along with Hurt and Marshall Horton, and Perkins knows it’s going to be very difficult to say goodbye.
“My heart hurts a little because I know I’m not going to be able to coach these guys again,” Perkins said holding back a few tears. “All of these guys have great futures ahead of them and while I’m elated for how well we played today its difficult right now because I know they won’t be around next year.”
The Athenian program four years ago when Ranard and Hurt both joined had a goal of just finishing in the top 10 at the sectional. Never was playing in a Regional even a thought. Fast forward four years later and here CHS stands shooting a season-best at a Regional to end what’s been an outstanding season.
“It was tough sledding back then and that’s another reason why we’re enjoying this so much now,” Perkins said. “These guys are now getting to see the fruits of their success for sticking it out over the years. I’ve always said that it’s nice to have the will to win, but you also have to have the will to prepare to win. They did just that and now are deserving of everything they’ve achieved.”
Southmont ends it’s season with another Regional appearance. Junior Harrison Haddock led the Mounties with an 84. Fellow junior Nolan Allen carded an 85 while Luke Tesmer shot a 99, Ty Elless a 103, and Carson McKinney a 112.
While it wasn’t quite the score that Mountie coach Bill Whalen had hoped for, he still chalked up this season as a successful one which included the school’s first sectional title since 2001.
“It was a great year for us,” Whalen said. “We won an invitational at Greencastle, then top that with the school’s first sectional title in 21 years. We didn’t end like we wanted to today but I’m still very proud of this group. They all work hard and enjoy the game.”
The Mounties will have their top three players back for next season as Allen, Haddock, and Tesmer will all be seniors next season for Southmont. Combine that with a solid freshman class coming up through the middle school, and other returning players and the Mounties will still be a threat come next season.
“Some of the guys that weren’t in our top six are really starting to come along so we have a chance to once again be pretty competitive,” Whalen said. “The experience that our returning guys have gotten here plus the tournaments that they play in over the summer, that’s the best way to prepare for big meets like this. I know these guys will go out and play and work on their game so we’ll be hopeful again come next spring.”
The battle between the Athenians and the Mounties this season was something special to watch unfold out on the course and it was only fitting that the two county rivals would both meet one final time in the Regional.