COLUMBUS — Botkins will be aiming high when it competes in the OHSAA Division III Boys Golf State Tournament at The Ohio State University Golf Club Scarlet Course on Friday and Saturday.
The Trojans, who are among 12 qualifying teams from district tournaments across Ohio, enter the state tournament as the Southwest District champions with a team total of 308 strokes at Beavercreek Golf Club. Only Central District champion Newark Catholic had a lower state qualifying team score (302).
The rest of the state qualifiers — with their district team totals — include Gates Mills Gillmour Academy (315), Ottoville (317), Berlin Hiland (318), Minster (322), Cincinnati Seven Hills (323), Dalton (324), Toledo Ottawa Hills (329), Manchester (330), Independence (331) and Kalida (331).
“After looking at the other scores throughout the state, I think we fit in there with some of the teams at the top,” Botkins coach Brett Meyer said. “If we can go there and golf to our potential, I think we can make a pretty good showing in Columbus.”
Ross Dietz, a freshman, and J.J. Meyer, a sophmore, led Botkins with a 72 and a 73, respectively, at the district level. Four Newark Catholic golfers turned in district scores in the 70s (Max Vanoy, 74; Jack Rehbeck, 75; Nathan Riggleman, 76; Brian Luft, 77).
Other top golfers from state-advancing teams are Carter Schnipke (69, Ottoville), Alex Swinarski (71, Gillmour Academy), Jacob Joffe (73, Cincinnati Seven Hills), Daulton McDonald (74, Manchester), Carter Mishler (76, Berlin Hiland), Will Swigart (76, Toledo Ottawa Hills), Jaden Schlabaach (77, Dalton), Louis Magoto (77, Minster), Ryan Klausing (78, Kalida), Andrew Marcinko (78, Independence), Nathan Beair (79, Minster) and Eric Anton (79, Gilmour Academy).
The Trojans also have Jameson Meyer, Jack Dietz and Isaac Cisco, who all shot in the 80s at the district tournamnnt, but have taken turns leading Botkins with low scores throughout this season.
Coach Meyer knows his team will have to relax and focus on playing well in Columbus.
“We will have to control our nerves on the first few holes and, then, we’ll have to make sure that, if we have a bad shot, we can work our way out of it quickly. We don’t want to turn a bad shot into a big score on a hole,” Coach Meyer said. “The Scarlet Course has a lot of sand bunkers on it and it’s a big advantage if we can avoid those.”
The Trojans are playing a Scarlet Course that has been redesigned by former Ohio State student and professional golf icon Jack Nicklaus.
“There are a lot of bunkers that are in front of the greens and off to the sides. Bunker play is a key to playing there,” Coach Meyer said. “It’s a college course, which means its a little bit longer, but this will be a new experience for our players than they had before.”