Boys golf team wins region for a second straight year


(Courtesy of Bert Richey)

After winning the regional tournament, Freshman Hank Shick, Junior Joel Craft, Freshman Nathanial Surrey, Senior Jack Schneider, Freshman Oliver Golden, and Coach Bert Richey take a picture with their trophy.

This year’s boys golf team has had an eventful season. They played in 13 regular-season tournaments this year. In the regular-season tournaments they’ve played, they placed in the top ten in 11 of the tournaments. 

 With playing in so many tournaments, many players set individual goals for themselves, according to Freshman Hank Shick.

 “I want to go to state as a team and an individual. I have to practice and not get mad if I want to achieve these goals.”

 This year’s varsity team consists of Seniors Jack Schneider and David Deirig, Junior Joel Craft, Sophomores Nate Arensten and Nathan Kirst, and Freshmen Hank Shick, Oliver Golden, and Nate Surrey. Along with this, the Bluebirds are coached by Bert Richey.

The Birds got off to a great start placing fourth in the Pendleton Hills Invitational at Pendleton Hills Country Club on Friday, July 30. Shick also got an individual award for placing sixth, shooting 83, eleven over par.

 They have reached many milestones this season and made many memories. This includes Craft getting his first individual win, shooting 70, one under par on Thursday, August 5 at the Beechwood Invitational hosted at Hickory Stick Country Club. 

 According to Craft, to get the win he had to go into a playoff.  

“After the drive I hit, I told myself to make sure I made a par and see what happens. I hit my third shot close from about 180 and was able to apply some pressure on my opponent. Definitely took a lot of the pressure off me in the playoff.”

As the year went on, the Bluebirds got more consistent in the tournaments. 

According to Richey, he has been very proud of how the boys are doing in the regular-season tournaments and how they have been playing and performing as a team.

“We have been playing more consistently lately and as a coach that’s what you want to see.”

The team competed in their Conference tournament on September 21, at the Willows at the  Courses of Kenton County. They placed second as a team, shooting 328. Unfortunately, the Bluebirds lost to Saint Henry by four strokes.  

Craft got another individual placing, coming in second shooting 78 and 6 over par at the Conference.

After finding out about Joel’s placement at Conference, according to Richey, he then knew he’s a competitor.

“I thought he would be disappointed he was that close and didn’t win. He’s a competitor, I hope he takes that experience and grows to be a better player.” 

Before the regional tournament, the team had high hopes and expectations for how they would perform as a team.

According to Oliver Golden, it is important to have goals and set them in order to help the team win. 

“My goals are to break 85 and help the team win the Region. To do that, I will work on my short game and play the course smarter.”

The boys regional tournament was played on September 28 at Henry County Country Club. 

When the Regional Tournament was approaching, Coach Richey identified their biggest competition, which was Grant County, and what they had to do to get the win. 

“The last 5 years either Grant Country or Highlands has won our region. This year we will have to make sure we keep our composure and have a positive outlook.  We don’t have a lot of experience in the postseason so we will need to keep our confidence up to be successful.”

These goals were achieved and ended with a second straight Regional Tournament win. The Birds had a combined score of 317. Craft scored a 72, winning him the tournament. The rest of the team followed with a 77 from Shick which earned him a fifth-place finish, 80 from Schneider, and an 88 from Surrey. Golden shot a 90 but was excluded from scoring.

Richey reflected on the moments leading up to the win.

“My reaction and how I felt was the same,  I was happy for the players. They did a great job of not getting down when they didn’t have a good start.  They didn’t give up and kept battling.” 

The Bluebirds will go to compete in the state tournament on October 7 and October 8.