GREENVILLE – Last year is but a distant memory now for Tri-Village senior Gage Hileman.
As a junior at his golf sectional tournament, he shot 91 and was in a three-person playoff for a qualifying spot to the district tournament. He put his tee shot into the woods and ended up missing out on his opportunity.
That didn’t happen this year. On Tuesday, Hileman shot a 90 in the Division III sectional at Turtle Creek Golf Course and earned the second of four individual qualifying spots for next week’s district finals.
“It was rough but I worked my way through it,” Hileman said of Tuesday’s round. “I didn’t give up or get mad at myself. It’s nice to finally make it after working toward it for years. Last year I was in a three-man playoff for an individual qualifying spot. I was nervous and upset after, but can’t do anything about it. I hit my drive in the woods and had to punch out of there and by the time I got on the green one of the other guys was about to birdie and I was already putting for bogey so I just picked it up.”
Erase memory and fast forward to this season, his senior campaign.
“I put all of that out of my mind this year,” Hileman said. “I just wanted to get better this season and put that behind me and I feel like I did that. I’m not upset with a 90 today. My irons were really working well for me today. It sounds awesome to here that I am going to districts. I can’t wait. I’ve never played Beavercreek before, but we’ll get a couple practice rounds in and go from there and see what I need to work on the most.”
Hileman’s coach Logan Brubaker was proud of his senior.
“I’m happy with how Gage grinded today,” Brubaker said. “He had a bad start today going 8-5-7 on the first three holes, but he just kept hitting shots and grinding. His putter could have been a little better today, but overall I’m really proud of the way he gutted things out.
“I was hurt last year when he didn’t get through,” he continued. “A rough tee shot put him in trouble, but like I said he just kept hitting shots and grinding through. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
The same can be said for the entire Arcanum team. The Trojans came into the season with goals of winning the Cross County Conference title, which didn’t happen last week, and to advance to districts. That did happen Tuesday as the team shot a 383 to grab the fourth and final team district-qualifying spot.
“It’s awesome…just awesome,” Arcanum coach Todd Shannon said. “After last week at the league meet to go qualify as a team for the district is just amazing to me. It was a goal for us to get the team to district this year and it didn’t look good at first. The front nine was rough and I was beginning to worry it would be another let down like last week at CCC, but they all came through on the back nine and here we are.
“Cade (Brubaker) played really well and Carter (Gray) played well as he always does,” he continued. “Kendall struggled on the front, but picked it up on the back. Jack Shannon pulled us through. We told him he probably needed a 50 on the back and that’s what he got. It is going to be quite an experience. Beavercreek is a tough, long course so we have our work cut out for us there. We’ll talk this week at practice about what our goal is there and then hopefully we’ll do just that. To take a whole team to districts I am just so proud of the boys. This is quite a high right now.”
Brubaker, who led the team with an 89 on Tuesday, agreed with his coach.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We were disappointed after the CCC last week, but to be able to go to districts is great. It wasn’t too bad out there today. My driver was on today. And my irons too, but my putting wasn’t very good. It’s tough to judge when the greens are wet. It could have been a lot better for sure.
“But we’re ready to go do our best at districts,” Brubaker continued. “Winning the CCC was a goal coming into the season and so was getting to districts. It is definitely good to get one of them.”
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the Division III district tournament, which will be held Thursday,Oct. 4 at Beavercreek Golf Club.
The top four teams were Newton (339), Tri-County North (364), Northeastern (365) and Arcanum (382). The top four individuals were Bobby Peyton of Emmanuel Christian with an 87, Hileman of Tri-Village with a 90, and Clark Miller of Dixie and Jack Bramel of Catholic Central each with 91.
Local teams competing in the sectional included Tri-Village (393) in fifth place, Bradford (457) in 12th place, Ansonia (462) in 13th place and Mississinawa Valley (529) in 16th place.
In addition to Brubaker’s 89, Arcanum had scores of 90 from Gray, 99 from Kendall Wright and 104 from Shannon.
In addition to Hileman’s 90, Tri-Village had Dylan Holsapple shoot 97 followed by Aiden Collins with 100 and Brenden Durst with 106.
For Bradford, Taven Leach led the way with a 105 followed by Keaton Mead (103), Connor Jones (123) and Eric Sanders (126).
For Ansonia, Johnnie Bozarth shot 109 followed by Connor Stachler (117), Trevor Martin (117) and Dalton Drees (119).
For Mississinawa Valley, Zac Longfellow had a 116 with Justin Miller (120), Dalton Brim (146) and Kaiden Stewart (147) also contributing.
Franklin-Monroe finishes in 12th place
In the Division III sectional held at Beechwood, Franklin-Monroe shot a 479 as a team finishing in 12th place.
The Jets were led by Jacob Aslinger with a 113. He was followed by Dalton Goubeaux (119), Simon Mote (120) and Bradley Rumble (126).
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.