Don’t tell the kids of St. Joseph Central Catholic the 2013 golf season was suppose to be a rebuilding year.
Things seemed to go right to plan for the three-time defending Midland Athletic League champions. Coming into Thursday’s league tournament at Green Hills Golf Course, the Crimson Streaks were second in the team standings and poised to make a run at one last MAL team title.
But a fourth-place team finish (362) wasn’t enough to catch Hopewell-Loudon. The Chieftains won the league tournament with a 331 and coupled with two wins in the three previous league shootouts, earned the MAL’s final championship trophy, besting SJCC 36-29 in the point standings.
“We definitely stepped it up a bit towards the end of the season,” said Aaron Burns, the lone senior on the Crimson Streaks. “Today wasn’t our best day, but we played really well in the other two league shootouts. Just couldn’t quite finish it.”
Burns recorded four birdies and earned medalist honors Thursday with a 3-over 74. His finish earned him a spot on the all-league first-team and fourth overall in the final individual standings with 130½ points.
“I was extremely solid with the irons today and hitting a lot of greens,” Burns said. “Through 15 holes, I was 2-under, but I took a seven on No. 16 and had two bogeys to finish out, so that was a little rough.”
Chipping was the culprit of the high score on the par-4, 479-yard hole. Burns hit his second shot into a green-side bunker, but couldn’t get his third shot out, before three-putting.
“That shook me up a little bit,” Burns said.
However, it was still good enough to beat Hopewell’s Jarid Gelinas by one shot. Gelinas, runner-up in the final player standings, too, shot a 75. MAL Player of the Year Bryce Gorrell, of the Chieftains, was third with a 77. Mohawk’s Chet Margraf was fourth with a 78 and Lakota’s Makayla Dull took fifth with a 79.
Dull, a junior, earned first-team all-MAL honors for the second consecutive season.
“We didn’t get to play a lot this season,” said Dull as she evaluated herself. “We had one week filled with tournaments and then we had a two week break where I worked on a swing problem I had. But through practices and everything, I feel like I’m improving and progressing with my play.”
Dull tied for fifth with a 156 at last year’s Division II girls tournament. She had a low score of 76 this fall.
“I’ve had an issue with coming over the top of the ball in my swing, but my coach has helped me with that tremendously,” Dull said. “Now, I know if I’m doing something wrong, I can get to the bottom of it quickly.
“Everything seems to be coming together for me heading into sectionals.”
SJCC’s Mathias Michelson was a second-team representative. Old Fort’s Brad Heilman and Adam Alexander were among six honorable mention players, as was Collin Spader of the Crimson Streaks and Hunter Chalfin of the Raiders.
Michelson shot a 92 on Thursday, Spader a 93.
SJCC won 19 total MAL titles in the league’s existence, and no other school has more than two.
Heilman led the Stockaders with an 83 and Alexander shot an 89.
Chalfin shot an 83 for Lakota. Josh Mason, another sophomore for the third-place Raiders, shot a 95.
Lakota was second at the league tournament with a 354, also getting a 97 from Kevin Woodruff.
Ryan Hager led 11th-place Bettsville with a round of 100.