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Brookfield golfers finish 4th in 4th trip to state

The Brookfield High School boys golf team marked its fourth-consecutive appearance in the Division III state tournament by placing fourth after Saturday’s second and final round on the Ohio State University Scarlet Course in Columbus.

The Warriors shot a 346 Saturday to total a 669 to finish behind champion Berlin Hiland (628), Columbus Wellington School (644) and Canton Central Catholic (649).

“My goal for them coming into the tournament was a top-five finish,” coach Larry Smoot said. “But then when we were fourth after the first round and in striking distance of leading at just six shots behind, we started wondering, ‘what if.’

“I still think that if we’re in the final pairing (of three teams) going into the second round, that our top two guys, Conner Stevens and Justin Atkinson, would perhaps intimidate their opponents and we could pick up strokes. That’s what happened last year when we were down 14 after the first round and made up seven strokes in the second round.”

Atkinson, who recorded the only under-par round in the tournament Friday with a one-under 71, posted a 78 in the second round to finish at 149 to tie for second place with Drew Salyers of Howard East Knox, one shot behind medalist Aidan Schumer of Columbus Wellington.

Stevens, who carded a 77 in the first round, logged a 73 to place fourth overall at 150.

“We had two of the top four scores, so that says a lot,” Smoot said. “Conner will be playing for YSU next season and Justin will be playing at Findlay. Our third senior, Jake Shingledecker, will also be playing somewhere next year and he had a few Division III coaches following him around the course today.”

Shingledecker finished with a 165 to tie for 21st of 72 participants. Sophomores Kenny Montgomery (205, 69th) and Cameron Wellman (212, 70th) rounded out the Warriors’ effort.

“These three seniors set the bar high and their feats as individuals, and for the team, may never be reached again at Brookfield,” Smoot said. “It was very emotional when they came off the green on No. 18 for the final time in their high school careers. It was just so emotional for me as a coach and for them as competitors. I just don’t see this four-year run ever be matched at Brookfield. I couldn’t be happier or more proud.”

While it could mark the end of an era, Smoot thinks the younger guys will still help the team have high goals.

“You know, we could still aim for a league title and be a district-qualifying team next year,” he said. “These guys will work on it and we’ll see what we have coming to help them.”

Also competing in the tournament was Newton Falls junior Brandon Gibson, who tied for 37th with a 176.

¯ In the Division II girls state tournament on the OSU Gray Course, Cardinal Mooney shot a 373 in the second round to finish with a 718 to tie St. Henry for eighth place, as Lima Central Catholic (647), Marlington (658) and Tuscarawas Valley (669) took the top three places.

The Cardinals’ top three finishers were fairly consistent, as senior Alexandria Patrone and sophomore Alyssa Rupp both finished at 175 to tie for 34th of 71 participants, and junior Jayne Bernard was at 176 to tie for 36th. Rupp shot an 88 in the second round, Bernard posted a 90 and Patrone had a 93.

Senior Grace Ogden had a 102 to finish at 192, which tied for 56th, and freshman Daniella Patrone finished at 241 to place 70th after a second-round 120.

¯ In the Division II boys state tournament at NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury, West Branch posted a second-round 364 to finish with a 716 and place 11th in a 12-team field, as Columbus Academy (615) rolled to the title ahead of runner-up Kettering Alter (644).

The Warriors were led by Nick Pidgeon, who had an 82 to finish with a 162 to tie for 18th. Also competing for West Branch were Aiden Wiesemann (174, 45th), Brett Blickensderfer (184, 58th), Garrett Harvey (196, 67th) and J.D. Brain (210, 71st).

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