May 23—The Lakeland boys golf team backed up an undefeated Northeast Corner Conference regular season record by winning the conference championship invite Saturday at Lake James GC in Angola. The Lakers shot a team score of 346, beating second-place Angola by 33 shots.
“It feels tremendous,” Lakeland coach Jon Roush said. “I think it’s the first time we’ve won both the regular season conference championship and the tournament championship, unless we did it in the early 2000s. I think 2005 would’ve been the last time we could’ve done it, but I think this was the first time we actually did it.”
What was definitive is that it was Lakeland’s first NECC invite win since 2006. Along with winning team gold, the Lakers had the top two individuals of the day. Tommy Curtis was the medalist with an 80, with teammate Ben Keil one shot behind with an 81.
“They were both really up-and-down,” said Roush of Curtis and Keil’s performances. “They had a couple double (bogeys), and then they’d throw in a couple of birdies here and there. It was a big-time grind, let’s put it that way. They grinded it out hard, and they played really well, both of them. I couldn’t be prouder of either one of them.”
Fairfield finished third with a 384. Miles Nine and Carter Kitson led the Falcons by each shooting a 91, finishing tied for eighth overall.
Westview had two individuals earn all-conference honors with its fourth-place finish as a team. Wade Springer was third individually with an 84, while Carl Miller finished tied for fourth with an 87. The Warriors shot a team score of 385.
Although West Noble finished seventh with a 402, they had an individual earn all-NECC honors. Brockton Miller finished tied for fourth individually with an 87 to earn him individual recognition.
The focus now turns to getting ready for sectionals, which begin June 4 around the area. Lakeland will be playing in the sectional at Meadow Valley Golf Club in Middlebury, which features four of the top five teams in the Northern Lakes Conference in NorthWood, Goshen, Concord and Northridge. With only three teams advancing from the sectional to the regional round, Roush is going to do everything he can to get his team ready for the postseason.
“I just try to keep (the players) into it,” Roush said. “I’ll give them a couple of days off here just to try and relax a little bit; try to work on getting their legs back a little. … These guys have worked hard, and they keep working. We just have to get ready for the sectional now. I know I have a couple sophomores up top and a freshman, and they’re getting there. They still have some things, though, that could help us go over the top and get out of the sectional, which is going to be very tough.”
2021 NECC Boys Golf Championship — final standings
Held at Lake James Golf Club in Angola
1. Lakeland, 346 — Tommy Curtis 80 (medalist), Ben Keil 81, Nate Keil 92, Carson Aldrich 93, Luke Franke 98
2. Angola, 379 — Caleb Price 90, Mason Gruner 95, AJ Hersel 95, Gage Hankey 99, Aiden Koch 102
3. Fairfield, 384 — Miles Nine 91, Carter Kitson 91, Ethan Yoder 98, Andrew Miller 104, Noah Hochstetler 114
4. Westview, 385 — Wade Springer 84, Carl Miller 87, Nathan Miller 107, Landon Bennett 107, Isaac Rogers 112
5. Fremont, 392 — Lukas Berlew 96, Josh Sherbondy 96, Jack Allman 97, Alex Chilinski 103, Luke Campbell 103
6. Prairie Heights, 402 — Brayden Levitz 91, Noah Butler 98, Cameron Sailor 105, Collin Keeslar 108, Jay Abbott 127
7. West Noble, 402 — Brockton Miller 97, Brayden Bohde 96, Luke Schermerhorn 101, Brenden Parson 118, Rodrigo Melchor 134 (lost tiebreaker against Prairie Heights because of fifth player’s score)
8. Garrett, 403 — Logan Borns 93, Thomas Loeffler 99, Colton Weimer 104, Noah Dapp 107, Jacob Borns 120
9. Eastside, 417 — Austin Arnold 90, Kyle Yoder 102, Lucian Brunggner 110, Ethan Kerr 115, Gunnar Czaja 115
10. Churubusco, 447 — Tyler Miller 103, Brady Crick 107, Alan Resler 118, Joey Eminger 119, Dawson Meeks 121
11. Central Noble, 453 — Riley Smith 106, Nate Robinson 111, Jeremiah Imhof 117, Kaden Coburn 119, Austin Smith 135
12. Hamilton, 502 — Jackson Stuckey 120, Caleb Creager 123, Chase Hill 129, Kody Ellert 130, Ryan Cool 131
Austin Hough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.