Warriors repeat as district champs

Special to Tribune Chronicle The Brookfield boys golf team repeated as Division III district champions on Thursday and will play in the state tournament next week in Columbus. Team members include (front, from left) Justin Atkinson, Nate Smoot, Conner Stevens, (rear, from left) Jake Shingledecker, coach Larry Smoot and Jonathan Hiner.

Pleasant October weather provides golfers in northeast Ohio the opportunity to extend the season. The Brookfield High School boys golf team is getting used to extended seasons.

Last year, the Warriors won the Division III District tournament at Tannehauf Golf Club in Alliance with a team score of 325, and followed up with a fifth-place finish at the State tournament at NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury.

This year, the Warriors are aiming to bring home that State title. They took another step on that road Thursday with a repeat District championship, again at Tannenhauf.

“I was very nervous when the day started,” Brookfield coach Larry Smoot said. “I think I was more nervous than the boys were. Experience is key to this team and their success on the course.”

Success indeed. The Warriors fired a team score of 312 and won the title by 11 strokes. Smoot was impressed by the way the team carried itself throughout the district tournament.

“We knew who could have come in first and that’s how we played,” Smoot said. “We played in the Kiely Cup against Canton Catholic and Gilmour, so I knew what we were up against. I’m happy we won, we couldn’t have played better.”

Sophomore Conner Stevens led Brookfield, winning medalist honors in a playoff after shooting a 71. He was tied with Columbiana’s Jared Wilson and then birdied the first playoff hole to finish as the top individual.

Stevens was backed fellow sophomores Justin Atkinson with a 79 and Jake Shingledecker with an 80. Senior Nate Smoot shot 82.

Canton Central Catholic shot 323 to finish second and Gilmour Academy grabbed the third and final qualifying spot, taking third with a 329. Bristol finished fifth with a 345 and John F. Kennedy was sixth with a 348.

Smoot said that his team’s original goal was to shoot a total of 315.

“Mentally, we believe we are the favorites. We might not be the favorites on paper but we know how we are,” Smoot said. “Our kids aren’t really intimidated by the moment. It is nice to be the chased and not the chaser.”

Kennedy junior Jimmy Graham qualified as an individual with a 2-over 74. Sophomore Anthony Clark led Bristol’s effort with a 75, just one stroke from the qualifying standard. Senior Daniel Lamosek shot a 78.

McDonald’s Zavier Bokan shot an 82 as an individual.

Brookfield and Graham will compete in the State tournament Oct. 13-14 at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course in Columbus.