Will there be an interloper this year?
The high school golf sectional that will be played this morning at Linton's Phil Harris Golf Course has the same three favorites every year: alphabetically Northview, Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South.
Form doesn't always hold true, however. Linton has often provided a fourth contender, winning in 2016; Sullivan won twice in a row in 2014 and 2015; and Clay City upset the order of things last year by earning a regional trip ahead of Northview and finishing ahead of both North (better fifth score) and South (by one shot) at the regional.
This year looks like a return to what the three co-favorites would consider normal, which is something coaches Chris DeHart, Chuck Payne and Chris Cassell would appreciate. The Eels haven't been quite as strong, the Miners and Golden Arrows are down and what might be the Wabash Valley's most improved team, West Vigo, probably isn't ready yet to challenge its county rivals or conference rival.
North was the most experienced team heading into the season; Northview is young, improving fast and defeated the Patriots in a dual match last week at Hulman Links; and South is capable of a good enough day to challenge either or both for the team title.
The top three teams qualify for the Washington Regional on Thursday at Country Oaks, as do the top three individuals on non-advancing teams.
Two more sectionals that feed into Country Oaks will also be played today: the Indianapolis Attucks Sectional at South Grove and the Martinsville Sectional at Foxcliff.
Two other sectionals were played last week, with Greencastle, Seeger and Parke Heritage advancing from Attica — along with Zach Junker of fourth-place South Vermillion — and Evansville North, Castle and Evansville Mater Dei from the sectional at Evansville.
As usual, the teams coming up from Evansville will be bringing the best scores: 291 for the Huskies, 300 for the Castle Knights and 304 for the Mater Dei Wildcats. Evansville Memorial shot a 307 in sectional play — any team at Linton today would love to write that score down — and didn't get out.
An individual score of note among the two sectionals already finished is that of Peyton Snoeberger of Seeger — a 65 shot at Attica's Harrison Hills.
Thursday at Harrison Hills
Top four teams — Greencastle 327, Seeger 338, Parke Heritage 353, South Vermillion 357.
Greencastle (327) — Conner Taylor 75, Jaxon Parmley 80, Benton Parmley 80, Tyler Rogers 92, Vincent Martoglio 117.
Parke Heritage (353) — Evan James 94, Landon Steward 81, Jorden Wood 88, Ben Lynk 92, Clay Cutler 92.
South Vermillion (357) — Ryan Moore 84, Zach Junker 81, Brice Hixon 97, James Vitaniemi 97, Jared Panagouleas 95.