Crestview caps 3-year run at state in sixth

“Who’s the giraffe!” someone from the Crestview contingent shouted.

Ben Olewiler, the Cougars’ 6-7 senior, smiled for the cameras. He towered over the other golfers standing with him on a makeshift stage as they received their first-team All-Ohio plaques on Saturday.

He would have preferred it looked that way on the scoreboard.

Leading by one stroke with a two-under 70 after Friday’s first round, Olewiler saw his bid for medalist honors disappear with Saturday’s 82 in the final round of the Division III state tournament at North Star.

Ryan Fowler of Warren John F. Kennedy followed up his 71 on Friday with a 72 to take low-man honors. Michael Denner of team runner-up Ottawa Hills was medalist runner-up at 148.

“The wind was tough, but everyone played in the same conditions, so I can’t blame that,” Olewiler said glumly. “I have no clue (what happened. I’m as surprised as everyone else I played this bad.”

Fellow senior Bryce Lutz, who also earned All-Ohio honors as a second-teamer, was Crestview’s low man Saturday with an 80 for a final total of 154. Also scoring for the Cougars were senior Michael Staniford (86-89-175) and junior Joe Stimpert (90-97-187) as Crestview finished with a sixth-place total of 668.

“The wind and pin placement today made the course tougher,” Staniford said. “The wind was a big factor probably 90 percent of the time. It was brutal (Friday), but today it was just nasty.”

Columbus Academy dethroned Ottawa Hills by a 635-642 margin. It was a third-straight top-six finish for Crestview, coming on the heels of its state championship here in 2012 and its third place finish last year on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

“It’s bittersweet going out with a sixth place, but at least we were hear there years in a row,” said Bob Olewiler, Crestview’s coach and Ben’s father. “There were only 12 teams here, so everybody else wasn’t playing golf. If they were, they were playing with their dad or uncle.

“The kids are beating themselves up, but it’s really not that bad. Is (sixth) where they wanted to be? Probably not, but realistically I felt with who we had coming back (they lost No. 1 man and 2012 state medalist runner-up Josh Brooks to graduation), that if we finished in the middle of the pack that would probably be real good.”

Saturday marked the end of an era. Olewiler had at least one of his sons – Josh, Samuel and Ben – on the team for each of the last 10 years. Saturday also marked the end of his 14-year coaching career.

In his typical, laid-back, it’s not-about-me fashion, Ben Olewiler made no grand announcement about stepping down. He slipped in the R-word while reflecting on Crestview’s three-year run to state.

“Ben’s our baby,” he said, speaking for his wife Dorothy, who has been Crestview’s biggest fan. “This is the end for me. I love bow-hunting and we heat 100 percent with wood, so I’m always cutting wood. With 100 acres of wood, that takes a lot of my mind.”

He’ll still be visible at athletic events. Every member of Saturday’s lineup, including freshman Jake Salyers, plays basketball. Ben Olewiler is also a state runner-up high jumper.

“I’ll probably shed a tear at his graduation,” dad said.

As father and son stood waiting for officials to announce the All-Ohio teams, Bob Olewiler leaned over and gave Ben a kiss on the cheek.

“These three seniors (Olewiler, Lutz, Staniford) have done so well the last four years (each taking turns being Firelands Conference medalist and never losing a league match),” Bob Olewiler said. “Starting as freshman and playing every single match seldom happens. Ben scored in all but two matches in his career and there were only four times Bryce didn’t score.”

Ben Olewiler finishes his career as a three-time All-Ohio, making second team in 2012 and 2013. Lutz was first-team All-Ohio on the 2012 state title team and just missed making second team last year. Only five golfers make first team and five more make second team.

“I’ve loved spending time with this team,” Lutz said. “It’s like family.”

Ben Olewiler was the family member hurting the most.

“Our main goal was third or fourth, somewhere in there, so that’s one good point,” he said. “The only other thing I’ll take away from this is that we (Crestview) established a name in golf. I’ll always remember that.


Twitter: @jspencermnj

Crestview senior Ben Olewiler hits a putt during Saturday’s final round of the Division III state golf tournament at North Star.

Crestview senior Ben Olewiler hits a putt during Saturday’s final round of the Division III state golf tournament at North Star.

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