Riders Finish Runner-up In WBL

St. Marys' Austin Boley tees off on hole No. 1 to begin the Western Buckeye League Boys Golf Championship on Thursday at the Tamarac Golf Course in Lima.
Sports Editor

They did not repeat as Western Buckeye League champions on Thursday, but where they finished shows that this team will be sticking around the upper part of the league for a while.

Needing a win and Elida to drop to third in the 10-team tournament, St. Marys finished second in the with a team score of 324, beating out Ottawa-Glandorf who finished with a 332 to avenge a loss early in the season against the Titans to force a second-place tie in the final league standings. 

With the Harmon brothers taking their talents from Spencerville to Elida over the summer, the Bulldogs came out as league champions with a 303 team score and an undefeated record in league dual matches.
Ethan Harmon was the medalist in the tournament with a 73 and also garnered Golfer of the Year honors in the WBL. Gavin Harmon carded in a 74 and Carson Harmon finished with a 77 as the Bulldogs’ top four scores finished under 80 strokes.

But the Roughriders conclude a regular season that saw them finish 7-2 in WBL dual matches and 9-2 overall as the program has notched a 19-2 record in dual matches the last two seasons — not to also mention a league title last season and all but one golfer returning to the program next year.

In his final league tournament, senior Austin Boley finished with an 82, but Reese Sweigart and Andrew Moore both led the Roughriders with an 80. 

First-year Roughrider Cole Koenig finished with an 82 and Calvin Caywood carded in an 84 as the team was consistent throughout the board on Thursday. Brett Speckman also competed for St. Marys, finishing with a 101.

“We had some guys start off really slow and get off to a sluggish start, but we talked about it being a marathon,” Schmitmeyer said. “I told them to play 18 holes, stick with the program and just do their thing and they rode the ship and they handled it very well.
“I am happy with how things turned out. It was going to be hard to catch Elida — 303 is one heck of a good start — but I am really proud of the guy today.”

Schmitmeyer also praised the sophomore Caywood’s 84, which was not factored into the team’s final score, but Caywood’s finish showed his improvement in his second year with the program.

When the season started, Schmitmeyer had four golfers vying for the No. 4 position in Caywood, Andrew Moore, Brett Speckman and Dakoda Moore and by the end of the season, Andrew took over the No. 4 spot, but Caywood and Speckman were on his heels throughout the season. Moore along with Sweigart finished two points shy of all-league honors, but Sweigart did grab honorable mention on Thursday.

“We told the guys in the five and six slot guys that we needed every stroke from them,” Schmitmeyer said. “If we have a tie, it comes down to that fifth score, or if we have a guy in the top four have a bad number, we needed those guys to keep grinding and come up with the best number that they could. I am really proud of the improvement those guys have shown this year.
“Andrew averaged somewhere in the 40s last year and then this year, he is knocking strokes off like crazy to where he shot two-under par yesterday [Wednesday] at the Elks in the back nine there. Austin, Cole, Andrew and Reese played so much golf this summer and I doubt there was anybody in the league who played more golf than those guys did. The more you play, the better you are going to get and the more confidence you are going to have. The hard work those guys put in over the summer really, really paid off for us in the fall.”

The program also got a big boost from Koenig, who transferred from Bluffton over the summer. An All-Northwest Conference Second-Team selection as a freshman last year, Koenig was named an All-WBL golfer on Thursday.

“That was a very fortunate thing for us and our golf team,” Schmitmeyer said. “Cole is a class act and a great kid and he fit in really well. He put in a lot of time with the guys in the Lima Junior League so they got to know him really well and he has been a great kid to have for our program.”

Team scores

  1. Elida 303; 2. St. Marys 324; 3. Ottawa-Glandorf 332; 4. Van Wert 333; 5. Shawnee 338; 6. Defiance 345; 7. Wapakoneta 352; 8. Bath 369; 9. Kenton 400; 10. Celina 402.