BEAVERCREEK – Oh so close.
Arcanum junior Carter Gray shot an 82 on Thursday in the Division III boys district golf tournament at Beavercreek Golf Course. With all but a few individual golf scores recorded, Gray’s 10-over-par score was good enough to have him in a three-way tie for the last individual state-qualifying spot. All that stood between him and a state bid was one of the final individuals still on the course to come in with a better score.
That’s exactly what happened. Mechanicsburg’s Jack Shoemaker posted an 81 knocking out all three of the 82 scores. Gray was understandably disappointed.
“It is tough to lose by one stroke,” Gray said. “There are a couple of shots I definitely wish I could have back, but that’s the game. It’s humbling for sure and it makes me ready for next year.
While he waited for the final few golfers to come in, he was mentally preparing himself for a playoff with the other two golfers who shot 82.
“I was mentally ready for a playoff,” Gray said. “When you play basketball you play in front of all those people so it feels kind of natural to just keep calm and play your game and do what you do best.
“I was thinking it is my junior year so I got one more year left and hopefully next year will be a different outcome,” he continued. “It felt great getting here as a team and we only had one senior so next year should be a pretty good year for us. Hopefully next year we can come again as a team and go to state as a team.”
Gray wasn’t alone at the district tournament. He had qualified with his team to the district meet, but the Trojans totaled 377 as a team to finish in 10th place. Only the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team would earn trips to next week’s state championships.
“That was a little heartbreaking to see that 81 go up there,” Arcanum coach Todd Shannon said. “That’s why we tell them every stroke counts. It was a good experience and he has another year so we’ll see what happens next year.
“We played well, but they just had a few bad club selections that got themselves in trouble,” he continued. “The course wasn’t too difficult for them, but I think nerves had a lot to do with it too. It was the first time other than Carter all the other kids had been here, but we have everybody coming back next year except for our senior Evan Atchley. Absolutely I feel like we will be even stronger next year.”
After Gray’s 82, Kendall Wright shot 92, Cade Brubaker shot 101, Jack Shannon had a 102 and Evan Atchley finished with a 121.
Tri-Village senior Gage Hileman also was in the field as an individual competitor. He didn’t get a state berth either, but was happy for the experience of playing in the district in his final high school season.
“I am disappointed, but I had fun doing it,” said Hileman, who shot a 98 for the round. “It was a fun day even though I didn’t qualify. It’s my last year of golf and I came into the day thinking just to have fun and not really get down and just play my best. I didn’t really look at getting out. My one goal was to get to districts. After I finished ninth in CCC, I put that past me and went to districts like I wanted to.”
The top three team advancing to the state meet were Newton (343), Fort Loramie (344) and Seven Hills (349). The rest of the teams were Tri-County North (359) in fourth place, Botkins (367) in fifth place, Jackson Center (371) in sixth place, Cedarville (372) in seventh place, Middletown Christian (373) in eighth place, Northeastern (375) in ninth place, Arcanum (377) in 10th place, Georgetown (380) in 11th place and Sidney Lehman Catholic (415) in 12th place.
The top three individuals to qualify for state were Lance Sininger (78) of Georgetown, Josh Swartz (80) of Middletown Christian and Shoemaker.
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.