AVON — The St. Edward boys golf team hadn’t qualified for the Division I state tournament since 2007.
Back then, that Eagles team was loaded with four seniors and a junior.
The team that snapped that state-less streak this year was not only buoyed by three Lorain County residents making up the top three spots in the lineup — Columbia Station’s Joey and Anton Krecic and Avon Lake’s Wil Bethune — but is loaded with underclassmen and no seniors.
Joey Krecic, a junior, and Anton Krecic, a sophomore, each shot 80s to lead St. Ed’s to a fourth-place finish at the district tournament at Pine Hills last Wednesday with a 328. Bethune shot an 86. St. Ed’s finished first at sectionals at Sweetbriar Golf Course with a 296.
“I’ve never been to state, so this is a first for me,” said Joey Krecic, who averaged 77 for 18 holes this season. “Last year, I came very close individually, but lost in a playoff. So it means a lot to go as a junior and it means a lot to our school. We’ve all been waiting for golf to do well, and this was a good year for us.”
Anton Krecic said that qualifying for state was the No. 1 goal for him and his teammates.
“It’s a really big accomplishment for our team to go, especially since we haven’t been to state since 2007,” he said. “We really worked hard and put in a lot of time to make it to the state tournament. This year felt a lot different than last. We really felt good together as a team. We practiced really well and worked a lot better, personally, than last year.”
Bethune has known the Krecic Brothers for over seven years.
“Me and Anton have been playing on summer tours since we were 7 years old,” he said. “I knew Joey from summer tours before. We became pretty good friends. We play pretty hard together.
“Me, Anton and Joey knew that if we got the right fourth and fifth, we would make it down to states this year. After tryouts, Nick Hinzel and Danny Zahn and Adam Abele proved they could be pretty good players. We had a good pretty good feeling that we would end up at states.”
Eagles coach Bill Menz treats his golf team like a corporation, where everyone has a role to play in order for the team to be successful. The players have embraced that mentality.
“Each of us does our little part and that’s how we get the job done,” said Joey Krecic, the team’s No. 1 golfer. “We don’t worry about really who’s doing what and what we need to shoot. As long as we shoot our averages, we know we’re in good shape. That’s why we are the team we are.”
This week, the team practiced at Avon Oaks Country Club in an effort to prepare for the conditions at The Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course, where the state tournament will be held. The players were working situational shots and putting and chipping to get used to the greens they will see in Columbus.
The players feel that qualifying for state by finishing in the top four at districts makes it a great season and are treating state as if it is the icing on the cake. However, they still have goals in Columbus.
“The goal is to finish in the top five,” Joey Krecic said. “If we don’t do that, we’ve already accomplished our main goal, which was to get to state. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we won the tournament. We’re very mentally tough and we’re strong, and I could see that happening.”
Division I boys golf state tournament
- WHERE: The Ohio State University’s Scarlet Golf Course
- WHEN: Friday and Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.
- ADMISSION/PARKING: Free.
- WHO’S THERE? St. Edward/Columbia Station — Joey Krecic, jr., Anton Krecic, soph.; St. Edward/Avon Lake — Wil Bethune, soph.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.