On a warm day with surprisingly tough conditions, the Wildcats stayed mentally tough against a very stacked field.
The Saint Ignatius Varsity Blue golf squad recorded a team score of 299, earning second place at the District Tournament. More importantly, the solid team tally punches a ticket for the Wildcats to the State Tournament on October 23-24.
"This is a solid team score given the conditions," says Head Coach PJ Myers '99. "We wanted to play our own game and stay patient. For a while there, we were on the bubble of getting in or being out. Our guys did a great job down the stretch to get us to States."
Topher Reed enjoyed a particularly clutch day. The junior looked poised and composed down the stretch with crucial birdies on the 15th and 18th holes. Reed's huge birdie on the final hole ensured that the Wildcats would finish second as a team. For the day, Reed finished with an excellent total of 73.
Nick Piesen also performed wonderfully in the final handful of holes. The sophomore notched back-to-back-to-back birdies on the 14th, 15th, and 16th holes. Piesen's performance proved to be critical. His score of 73 earned him a tie with Reed for 7th place.
Bradley Chill, Jr. looked like an experienced vet instead of a freshman on Monday. The youngster looked consistent all day, shooting a 37 on the front nine and a 38 on the back nine for a score of 75. His birdie on the 18th hole was especially impressive.
Connor Malicki and Nick Longano each played well, tallying identical scores of 78. Malicki notched a 40 on the front nine and a 38 on the back nine, while Longano accomplished the reverse. Both played solidly, helping the Wildcats' floor to stay high, and thus earn a bid to the State Tournament in 11 days.
"We were just trying to get out and get the job done," says Myers. "Our goal today was to punch our ticket to the State Tournament. It doesn't matter if you finish first or fourth at the District Tournament. At the end of the day, we're trying to get better as a team, so we focus on the mental and emotional side."
Amidst a packed field with great programs such as Archbishop Hoban and Hudson in attendance, the Wildcats' goal was to survive, and they did just that. And the Golf Cats did so despite quicker greens and gusting winds that reached 20-25 miles per hour, impacting shots by a club or two and of course affecting the putting. As Myers noted, these conditions were some of the toughest the Cats have faced at Pine Hills, despite the warm weather.
But the focus now shifts to Columbus, and thriving in the hard-knock environment at The Ohio State University's Scarlet Course.
"You want to be on a steady incline heading into States, and that's the trajectory we're on and plan to be on," says Myers. "We had a nice regular season, but the postseason is here, and we're on a steady incline. We'll get back at it tomorrow, no days off. I love where we're at, the guys have grown so much over the last 10 weeks. We have 1 goal and 1 focus: Work hard, prove ourselves, and win a state championship."