September 18, 2014

Elyria
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Boys golf: Two area teams, individuals advance to district

EATON TWP. — A pair of area teams and two individuals not on a qualifying teams enjoyed success on a hot and windy afternoon during Division II sectional play at Mallard Creek Golf Course on Tuesday, advancing to next week’s district tournament at Windmill Lakes Golf Course in Ravenna.
Four teams and four individuals were eligible to move on to the district (Tuesday), which is a qualifier for the state tournament, Oct. 12-13, at The Ohio State University’s Gray Course.
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy was the top team Tuesday with a 304 score from its top four golfers, followed by Elyria Catholic (315), Cleveland Benedictine (318) and Firelands (319).
Elyria Catholic, coached by Tom Porter, advanced to the district for the eighth time in the last 10 years. But this one may have been tougher, with the Panthers’ roster filled with underclassmen after one regular from last year transferred to Midview and another elected to concentrate on basketball.
EC was paced by sophomore Colin Coughlin, who shot a
3-over-par 75, and 76s by sophomore Matt Spencer and junior Ryan Polk. Junior Doug Baluch shot 88.
The two area golfers qualifying as individuals were Blake Sword of Wellington with a 74 and Brian Taricska of Bay High at 76. The top individual qualifier was Ryan Conway of Loudonville with a
1-under-par 71, tying Greg Elber of Benedictine as the lowest scorers in the field of 84. Logan May of Fairview was the fourth individual qualifier with an even-par 72.
“There were no real surprises for us,” Porter said. “Our kids are all capable of shooting well. They’ve played a lot of golf this summer.”
Coughlin’s 75 (38-37) was a career-low in competition.
“I drove pretty straight off the tees and also my irons were working today,” Coughlin said. “I only had one bird, on the first hole (he began on the 9th hole in the shotgun-start format). I was also solid on my putting, especially the short makeable ones.”
Sword’s 74 came on the heels of a 72 last week, which earned him MVP honors in the Patriot Athletic Conference tournament at Columbia Hills.
“I hit the ball well but putted horribly,” Sword said. “I had two, three-putt greens and never did make a putt over seven feet. My irons were great. I had three birdies, on 18, one and five.”
Sword shot a 76 in the sectional last year.
     Firelands, coached by Joe Miller, grabbed the fourth team qualifying spot with solid golf from Andrew Northeim (75), Cliff Karp (77) and Matt Gregory (79). The fourth scorer was Vince Vitale with an 88.
Only a sophomore, Northeim had a great back nine of 35. His front nine was tainted by bogeys on the last three holes he played.
“I think the heat got to me a little bit at the end,” he said. “My irons were great most of the day. On the back nine I hit every green.”
Avon just missed qualifying with a 322, led by Mike Opsitnick’s 77. 
 
Team scores
 
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 304, Elyria Catholic 315, Cleveland Benedictine 318, Firelands 319, Avon 322, Loudonville 323, Bay 325, Vermilion 326, Brooklyn 326, Fairview 328, Wellington 329, Keystone 331, Buckeye 336, Woodridge 342, Black River 345, Holy Name 346. Cleveland Jane Adams and Cleveland Max Hayes did not have enough players to qualify as a team. 
 
Low individuals
 
Greg Elber, Benedictine 34-37=71. Ryan Conway, Loudonville 37-34=71, Logan May, Fairview 37-35=72, Blake Sword, Wellington, 37-37=74, Andrew Northeim, Firelands, 40-35=75, Colin Coughlin, Elyria Catholic,  38-37=75, Ryan Polk, Elyria Catholic, 39-37=76, Matt Spencer, Elyria Catholic 37-39=76, Brian Taricska, Bay, 37-39=76, Brandon Marlow, CVCA, 38-38=76, Mike Opstnick, Avon, 36-41=77, Cliff Karp, Firelands, 38-39=77, Mark Belden, CVCA, 38-39=77, Jacob Forsythe, CVCA, 37-40=77.

Contact Jerry Rombach at 329-7137 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.