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The Journal Gazette

Friday, June 01, 2018 1:00 am

Dwenger playing in rarefied air

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette


Area sectionals


At Chestnut Hills, 8:30 a.m.

Teams: Bishop Dwenger, Bishop Luers, Blackhawk Christian, Canterbury, Concordia, Heritage, Homestead, North Side, New Haven, Snider, South Side, Wayne, Woodlan

At Meadow Valley, 8 a.m.

Teams: Bethany Christian, Bremen, Concord, Fairfield, Goshen, Jimtown, Lakeland, Northridge, NorthWood, Prairie Heights, West Noble, Westview

At Noble Hawk, 9 a.m.

Teams: Angola, Carroll, Central Noble, Churubusco, DeKalb, East Noble, Eastside, Northrop, Fremont, Garrett, Hamilton, Leo

At Rozella Ford, 8 a.m.

Teams: Columbia City, Culver Academy, Culver Community, Huntington North, Manchester, Northfield, Plymouth, Tippecanoe Valley, Triton, Warsaw, Wawasee, Whitko

At Timber Ridge, 9 a.m.

Teams: Adams Central, Bellmont, Blackford, Bluffton, Eastbrook, Madison-Grant, Marion, Mississinewa, Norwell, Oak Hill, South Adams, Southern Wells 

During a recent four-way dual at Chestnut Hills, No. 7 Bishop Dwenger edged both No. 15 Canterbury and No. 17 Homestead by three shots, with the Cavaliers and Spartans still knotted even after tiebreaking procedures. If those results are indicative of anything at the Canterbury Sectional today, those same three schools will likely hold the spots as favorites in the 13-team field to advance to regionals.

“I would say those three should get out,” Dwenger coach Dave Scudder said. “Golf's a funny game, but we've been playing pretty well. I just hope the weather holds off and we have a pretty good day, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Playing pretty well? That's one way to summarize the Saints' season. Perhaps a better way? One of the state's best. Dwenger has reached rarefied air in tournament play this year, breaking 300 as a team all but two times out. That includes a 299 at the Spring Preview played at Prairie View, good for third place in a stacked field that included 13 of the state's top 20 teams in the preseason poll.

And it starts at the top for the Saints, as Luke Miller and Logan Ryan finished 1-2 at the SAC tournament, though Miller sustained a back injury that could provide an opening for a golfer like Stephen Bolan or Carston Fritz from Bishop Luers or Grant Norman from Blackhawk Christian to earn a regional berth as an individual.

While Miller has played the top individual spot the past two seasons for Dwenger, it's Ryan whose provided arguably the better scoring. In nine-hole dual meets, Ryan has averaged 34 this spring, while his average for 18 holes has stayed below 70.

“I think he doesn't want to change the routine we're in,” Scudder said of Ryan. “It's a friendly competition, but it hasn't even been close. I think he was fourth in the preview, but every other tournament (except for SAC) he's won.”

Homestead (Garrett Willis) and Canterbury (Carson Stohler) also feature some of the area's best golfers atop their lineups. Cavaliers coach Bob Brothers pointed to extensive offseason workouts leading to improved play by Stohler along with fellow junior Camden Cobler.

“They worked out all winter and they're really solid,” Brothers said. “That's a good, solid start.”

In all, 18 schools from six sectionals – Warsaw (Rozella Ford), Canterbury (Chestnut Hills), East Noble (Noble Hawk), Northridge (Meadow Valley), Peru (Rock Hollow) and South Bend Riley (Erskine) – along with top five individuals at each sectional not on an advancing team, will advance to the Warsaw Regional at Stonehenge next Thursday.

The Tigers, according to Brothers, look like a favorite at Rozella Ford alongside Columbia City, which went 7-0 in NE8 dual matches. NE8 Tournament champion DeKalb and Angola could make noise out of the East Noble Sectional.

Bellmont and host Norwell highlight the field set to tee off at Timber Ridge, with a top-three finish securing advancement to the Muncie Central Regional at The Players Club in Yorktown.