When Northview finished third in the first high school boys golf invitational behind Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South two months ago, coach Chris DeHart said his group had plenty of talent to make a big leap this year.
In order to do so, he pointed out, the work would have to be put in over the course of the season.
The Knights have been playing their best golf over the last few weeks and have posted the results to show for it.
What was the recipe for all of the success? Having fun, but taking every swing seriously.
“It’s just been them. It’s them going out to the golf course. If we’re hitting balls, if we’re working on putting, they’re working on their game. They’re not just out there hitting and joking around. They’re paying attention and going through a routine,” said DeHart.
The hard work has paved the way to Northview heating up at what DeHart called “the right time of the year,” and culminated Monday at Linton’s Phil Harris Golf Course, where the Knights were crowned sectional champions for just the second time in program history.
“I know the teams we’ve had in the past and so for this team to accomplish that, it’s just a testament on how they’ve grinded it out all year, put in the effort and got better,” DeHart said. “Doing it at the most important time, it was just awesome to watch.”
Northview used a team effort in getting to the top for the first time 2007 with all five shooting no higher than an 88, something DeHart said was key in their accomplishment.
“The front nine, when everybody was turning in their scores, a 42 was [the score] of our No. 5 [Ethan DeHart]. That just gives hope to everybody down the line and gives everybody motivation to keep grinding away,” DeHart pointed out. “It’s an individual [sport], but your team is counting on you too. We fed off that.”
Another reason? The play of Ben Goshen.
The sophomore standout has had quite the season and on Monday, it was added to by becoming the low medalist with his score of 74.
“It feels great. I’ve put in a lot of work out at Forest Park that made me get here today,” he said of becoming a sectional champion.
Goshen said his swing felt pretty good throughout the picture-perfect morning and afternoon of golf, but what helped him the most was his short game.
“My wedges and long irons were pretty consistent. I hit a lot of greens, so I didn’t have very many stressful pars, thankfully,” Goshen said.
Coming in second, four strokes from becoming back-to-back sectional champions, was Terre Haute North.
The Patriots were led by Andrew Granda, who posted the best front nine score of the day. The senior carded a 76, tying him for third with Eastern Greene’s Devin Moss.
North coach Chuck Payne said having Granda be his No. 1 the last three seasons has been a pleasure and is glad to coach him for at least another tournament.
“I have special feeling for Andrew,” Payne said of Granda.
Payne pointed out he would have loved to repeat as sectional champions, but was nonetheless pleased to have come just four shots short of doing so.
“We’re moving on. Second place is fine,” Payne said. “On the last four or five holes, we had a chance to win.”
Rounding out the top three teams that will be moving on to Thursday’s Washington Regional at Country Oaks Golf Club was Terre Haute South.
The Braves, featuring a very young group, went into the day with very little postseason experience and it may have showed a bit by the scores they posted on the front nine.
However, the way they rebounded on the back nine punched their ticket to the regional round, making for a very happy coach.
“I’m very pleasantly surprised. We had some guys step up today,” Terre Haute South coach Chris Cassell said. “The whole team got off to a bad start. Each and every one of them battled back. Everyone did better on the back than they did on the front, which was a substantial change. I’m just really happy with how they grinded and kept the season going.”
Clay City’s Justin Hopkins, West Vigo’s Alex Baker and Eastern Greene’s Moss all qualified for Thursday’s Washington Regional by way of having the three lowest scores on non-advancing teams.
Linton Sectional results
Team scores – Northview 315, Terre Haute North 319, Terre Haute South 335, West Vigo 346, Clay City 361, Sullivan 361, Eastern Greene 363, Linton 374, Shakamak 402, Bloomfield 404, White River Valley 456.
Northview (315) – Ben Goshen 74, Bowen Bussing 84, Chase Nuckols 79, Collier Frederick 78, Ethan DeHart 88.
Terre Haute North (319) – Andrew Granda 76, Logan Schuld 88, Same Bowen 80, Trey Steadman 77, Zack McCreery 86.
Terre Haute South (335) – Ryan Liebermann 82, Caleb Maris 80, Graham Stultz 81, Donavan Refugio 94, Marek Gibson 92.
West Vigo (346) – Alex Baker 78, Branch Joy 82, Lyndon Seckinger 95, Mekhi Higgins 97, Cody Ingham 91.
Clay City (361) – Justin Hopkins 75, Tanner Strauch 90, Zach Allender 91, Logan Roeschlein 105, Hunter Culver 106.
Sullivan (361) – Jaren Woodard 87, Gavin Jenkins 86, Wyatt Piel 94, Collier Elliot 94.
Eastern Greene (363) – Devin Moss 76, Wyatt Birch 89, Brayden Schriske 95, Parker Gillespie 103, Brandon Johnson 112.
Linton (374) – Brady Smith 85, Eli Poe 100, Sammy Robbins 102, Andy Clark 90, Braylen Perkins 99.
Shakamak (402) – Cole Orman 92, Jayce Rehmel 98, Matt Thomasson 116, Carl Miller 97, Bron Lambermont 115.
Bloomfield (404) – Turner Royal 87, Grayson Medina 109, Christopher Royal 106, Bavin Graf 102, Eli Cummins 109.
White River Valley (456) – Trey Carpenter 100, Addison Wall 103, Luke Powers 125, Sam Russell 128.
74 – Ben Goshen (Nv) 37-37
75 – Justin Hopkins (CC)* 38-37
76 – Andrew Granda (THN) 35-41, Devin Moss (EG)* 39-37
78 – Alex Baker (WV)* 41-37
* — individuals qualifying for regional on non-advancing teams