Sometimes in life, you do everything in your power to prepare for success and you still fall short.
That was the case for the Saint Ignatius golf program this weekend.
The Wildcats challenged themselves all season against top competition, did mental and emotional training, and even trekked to Columbus to play on the Scarlet Course on several occasions.
Even still, it was not enough. Despite a valiant effort on Saturday to overcome a tough Friday, the Wildcats could not capture the gold. Instead, the Golf Cats had to settle for a tie for fifth place with a team tally of 637 at The Ohio State University Golf Club.
“It was a tough couple of days," said Head Coach PJ Myers '99. "It was one of those character-building tournaments. We didn’t face much of that throughout the season due to great play across the board."
The Wildcats did improve on Day 2, shooting a 315, seven strokes better than on Day 1. Even with the tough two-day score, the Wildcats deserve plenty of kudos for fighting to the end.
Andrew Kaye is one such Wildcat who gritted it out after struggling with the tough Scarlet Course.
The savvy senior played solidly throughout the day, with a +5 on the front nine and a +4 on the back nine for a total of 81. Kaye anchored the Wildcats all season long as the physical and emotional leader. Kaye reached the State Tournament three times in four years, an incredible feat.
Kaye's time with the Golf Cats may be done, but his golf career is far from over. He's headed to Cleveland State University on a golf scholarship next fall, and his future is incredibly promising.
Ross Williamson is another Saint Ignatius senior with a bright future. Williamson tallied a score of 86 on the day. Williamson had a hard time in the front nine, but did quite well on the back nine. He also has plenty of reason to be proud.
"Ross and Andrew will learn from this in so many ways. I’m very proud of the way they fought until the end and gave it everything they had," Myers said. "We will miss their leadership and all they’ve given to this program for the last 4 years."
One player who may step into a leadership role next year is Nick Longano. The junior showcased his reliable skills again on Saturday.
Longano marked down a score of 82 on Saturday. A solid young man with great talent, Longano has been a critical cog in the machine this year.
"Nick Longano was a rock as usual. Mr. Dependable," Myers said. He just stays steady and competes the whole way.”
Topher Reed will also be back next year. Reed played outstanding golf on Saturday.
Reed is somewhat of a magician on the golf course. Reed is a bold player who attempts shots that others don't dream of taking. When he's on his game, the shots he hits causes jaws to drop from fans watching him. Reed started off with a +5 after the first nine holes, but then turned it up a notch in the front nine. Reed hit par on holes 1-5, birdied on 6, tallied pars on 7-8, and bogeyed on 9 to hit even on his last nine holes. Reed scored a 77 on the day.
"What a way to finish and build momentum going into next season. Topher hit some of the most amazing shots I’ve seen on that back 9 on his way to even par," Myers said.
One of the best stories on Saturday was Nick Piesen.
The freshman showed flashes on Friday, but didn't score great overall. But as Myers predicted, Piesen broke out for a huge day on Saturday. In his first nine holes, Piesen bogeyed on three holes, but parred the rest, earning a +3 on the back nine. Then the first-year Cat revved his game to a new level on the front nine.
Piesen notched an incredible four birdies in nine holes. He ended his day with back-to-back birdies with great putts, showcasing his outstanding ability on the greens. On the day, he finished with an incredible 74. Piesen will be a lot of fun to watch the next few years.
"He made 4 birdies on his back 9 capped off by birdies on his last two holes for a -1, 35," Myers said. "That 74 is a special number at states let alone from a freshman. Both he and Topher worked so hard and deserved to finish strong."
Overall, the Wildcats are disappointed that they fell short of the team's goal of bringing home a state championship.
But it was still a special and fun year for this squad.
“I’ve said all along this is a special group," Myers said. "And when we look back on the season it was filled with so much success. Districts Champs, Sectional Champs, 7 tournament wins. Just phenomenal all the way around.”
The future is incredibly bright for the Saint Ignatius golf program, no doubt.
“We thank all of the Wildcat family for their support throughout the year," Myers said. "We have something special here and can’t wait to put it all together again in 2020.”