HURON — The plot thickened as the scores of the heavy-hitters went on the scoreboard late Wednesday afternoon at Thunderbird Hills North in the Division I sectional boys’ golf tournament.
The Norwalk team and their fans anxiously watched the scores file in and well after two hours of waiting, the Trucker team was rewarded for their patience.
They had successfully advanced as one of the five teams to the Division I district next Wednesday at Findlay’s Red Hawk Golf Course.
“It’s always in that range between 330 and 335,” Norwalk coach Wes Douglas said. “We got in at 330, but it was close.”
The Truckers finished fourth out of 20 teams. Five teams and the five individual scorers not on qualifying teams advanced to the district.
No one came close to perennial-power Ashland in the team race.
The Arrows put a pair of 71s on the board and finished at 299, 16 strokes clear of runner-up Fremont Ross. Avon Lake was third at 317, followed by Norwalk at 330 and Amherst 333. Bowling Green missed out by one stroke at 334.
Norwalk lived to fight again on the strength of scores of senior Logan Shullick with a 37-43–80, and juniors, Dustin Lieber 39-40–79, Karson Schaechterle 39-45–84, Brandon Malson 45-42–87 and Tyler Beveridge 42-46–88.
“Dustin was again solid, doing nothing that would keep his score being anything but solid,” Douglas said. “Logan Shullick got off to a rough start, making eight on the first hole but then playing the next 17 holes in four over. Tyler and Brandon had their moments good and bad. Karson was the surprise, playing out of that No. 4 position. His game is so simple. He does hit it long, but hits it straight, gets his pars and not often more than bogey.
“Like I said before, this team thinks their way around the golf course and that’s the reason we are playing next week,’’ the coach added. “Jim (Denos) and I are already looking forward toward next year. We do lose Logan and Kaz Fedele, but we have six underclassmen returning.”
It has been a gratifying season with just about the only thing missing being a Northern Ohio League title. The Truckers finished second to Upper Sandusky.
It is apparent Norwalk likes 18-hole events.
The Truckers won the Bellevue Invitational, finished second at their own tournament, third at the Edison Invitational, fifth at Port Clinton and seventh at the Toledo Central Catholic Invitational.
“But, to be honest, I am getting tired of those runner-up finishes,” Douglas said. “It has been the same place in baseball the last two years.”
Norwalk ended a six-year district qualifying drought Wednesday.
“We got there my first two years as the head coach, but working against Division I teams makes us step it up,” Douglas said. “Jim Denos has been a huge help and so has the people out at Eagle Creek. We ask and they are right there to straighten things out.”
The five individual qualifiers to Red Hawk are Lexington’s Jake Houston (74); Elyria’s Roman King (79); Sandusky’s No. 5 player Taylor Wolfe (79); North Ridgeville’s Mitch Clark (79) and Olmsted Falls’ Brad Johnson (80).