Tough stretch

WARREN – Coach Jim St. George sets a benchmark for his John F. Kennedy boys golf team, shooting for a 320.

He dares not scoff at a 326, a third-place finish at Monday’s JFK Invitational at the Trumbull Country Club.

“We always try to shoot for 320 as a team score; 326 this early in the season is very promising,” St. George said.

Ryan Fowler paced JFK with a 76, while freshman Ryan Theis carded an 81. Billy Phillips (84) and Daniel LaPolla (85) rounded out the Eagles’ scoring.

This was the first time for Theis at Trumbull Country Club, shooting a 38 on the front and 43 on the back.

“Ryan shot four over his average,” St. George said. “It was pretty impressive for a little freshman (Theis), playing in this type of atmosphere. I would consider him the MVP of our day, no question.”

Girard took seventh with 347. Jimmy Standohar paced the Indians with an 82.

Brookfield placed ninth with 365. Lonnie Schell led the Warriors with an 85.

East Liverpool, which finished sixth at last year’s Division II state tournament, won Monday’s JFK Invitational with a 307.

The Potters’ Issac Davidson was the medalist with a 71.

“They came all the way up from Liverpool and 307 is a very good number,” St. George said.

Canfield took second with a 324, while Poland was fourth with 327.

The two state Route 224 rivals had runner-up finalists in Canfield’s Dominic Carano and Poland’s Ryan McQueown – both shooting a 72. The two shot a one-hole playoff with Carano winning.

“We had a playoff for the first tournament, which was pretty exciting,” St. George said.

He was pleased with the turnout.

“Being the second week of the year and having this diverse group together that early is great because this is what district and state level look like,” St. George said.

“It’s good to get all of these guys mixed up. There’s D-Is, D-IIs and D-IIIs here. You have that diverse of a tournament this early and they like coming to Trumbull Country Club because it was in pristine condition (Monday) and the way we take care of them, it’s very good.”

St. George said this is the first of four tournaments this week JFK will play – making one-tank trips around northeast Ohio.

Wednesday, the Eagles play teams like St. Edward, St. Igantius and other major Cleveland schools at Punderson State Park.

Thursday, JFK is at the Hoban Invitational at Good Park in Akron.

Friday, the Eagles go to Seven Hills Golf Club in Hartville – site of the Division II district tournament.

“We always like to look at that track early in the season,” St. George said.

After this week, Kennedy will have a good gauge on its season.

“This one week is a true indicator of how we’ll stack up come tourney time,” St. George said. “When school starts, everything dies down because it’s just after-school matches and Saturday.

“These two weeks are critical because it gives my kids a chance to play 18, a chance to travel across the state. We see a pretty good indication and teams in Division I and II we don’t even play.”