Local Sports from The Courier
Wednesday, October 03, 2012District Golf: Van Buren is among favorites in 18-team field
Van Buren will be looking to earn its third straight trip to the Division III OHSAA state boys golf tournament Thursday.
It isn't going to be easy, but then again, nothing worthwhile ever is.
"There will be some very good teams we'll be competing against this week. Ottawa Hills is shooting some Earth-shattering scores right now," said Van Buren boys golf coach Eric Heitkamp.
"Them and Lima Central Catholic are the top two teams and you can pretty much count them in unless something really strange happens. That leaves 16 other teams playing for those other two spots. We should be right in the mix."
The Black Knights will be one of five area teams in the 18-team field when Division III district play takes place at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Bowling Green.
Play is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team earn a trip to next week's OHSAA Division III boys state tournament at the North Star Golf Resort in Sunbury.
The Black Knights will be shooting for the program's 17th state tournament appearance.
Van Buren's lineup is tournament tested having played against many of the state's top programs on top-notch courses throughout the season.
In fact returning state qualifiers Jason Sawyer, Brennon Swain, Tim Mutchler and Sawyer Junge led the Black Knights to a district runnerup finish last season.
Heitkamp is counting on his veterans' experience to get them back to Sunbury.
"If our kids do the things they've done all season, play consistent golf, we should be fine," Heitkamp said.
"We have the horses and you can't say enough about the experience our kids have playing in big tournaments. If you don't have that experience, there's nothing really to prepare you for playing at this level.
"We're confident and excited. Playing at Stone Ridge is going to be a true test of golf."
Other area teams competing include Kalida, Ottoville, New Riegel and Patrick Henry.
Ten other area individuals will also compete.
Separately, two Liberty-Benton golfers will be playing in Thursday's Division II district tournament at Sycamore Springs Golf Course.
The Eagles' Jared Neiling and Brad Hoehne will be trying to get back to state after qualifying as a team last season.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team advance to next week's Division II state tournament at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course.
Van Buren, New Riegel, Ottoville, Kalida, Patrick Henry, North Central, Stryker, Ottawa Hills, Woodmore, Fremont St. Joseph, Wayne Trace, Allen East, Lima Central Catholic, Minster, Parkway, Ashland Crestview, Wynford, Norwalk St. Paul.
Individual Area Qualifiers
Dexter Wilson, Arlington; Bryce Gorrell, Hopewell-Loudon; Corbin Blair & Lincoln Stansberry, Carey; Slade Downing, Ada; Kody Griffith, Columbus Grove; Kurt Warnecke, Fort Jennings; Jared Niese, Leipsic; Jared Fuka, Miller City; Corey Bean, North Baltimore.
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