No Wabash Valley golfers advanced out of the Washington boys regional that took place on a warm, sunny Thursday at the Country Oaks Golf Club.
But there were reasons to think the future might be as bright as Thursday's sky.
For starters, Clay City's Justin Hopkins — a sophomore among the individual qualifiers from Monday's Linton Sectional — shot a 4-over-par 76 Thursday. That was a mere three strokes off what it took to reach next week's IHSAA state finals.
As for Terre Haute South, the Braves finished 18th out of 18 teams with a 377 Thursday. But all five of their golfers were underclassmen — including three sophomores — whom coach Chris Cassell looks forward to seeing improve next season.
"I had three guys who had never been here [to the regional]," Cassell told the Tribune-Star. "They had to do it as a first time sometime. It was good to get them down here and get some experience. Hopefully, they saw what they need to do to improve."
Northview compiled the best team score from the Valley — a 334, good for eighth place. Terre Haute North was 11th (343) and Parke Heritage was 17th (369). North did get a respectable 78 from Andrew Granda, a graduating senior.
"Overall, I think I played pretty well," the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College-bound Granda assessed. "I still gave away a couple shots. But all in all, I was able to play a solid round.
"I could have got off the tee a little bit better. I had a few wild shots off the tee and that really cost me."
As a team, coach Chuck Payne thought the Patriots could have played slightly better, but he wasn't mad at anybody.
"We got off to a bad start," said Payne, who admits he'll miss Granda and fellow senior Sam Bowen next season. "We played a little bit better on the back [nine holes]. But you've got to have four guys shooting 80 or better to get out of here."
From the Northview perspective, coach Chris DeHart praised how his usual No. 1 player — sophomore Benjamin Goshen — battled back from a rough first hole.
"He took two out of bounds on the first hole," DeHart explained. "But he was grinding away and grinding away after that [to conclude with an 82]. That's what I want to see from a young kid in his first year of playing competitive golf."
Going along with the theme of this story, the Knights' top four scores Thursday belonged to underclassmen.
Evansville North ended up as the regional team champion by posting a 297. Castle (301) and Plainfield (307) also will move on.