Mt. Vernon wins 6th straight county crown

GREENFIELD — He has honestly lost count.

Caleb Zelencik’s Mt. Vernon boys have reigned supreme over the Hancock County golf scene for so long, he truly can’t remember how many titles his boys have won in a row.

It’s six, coach.

With its win Tuesday at Arrowhead Golf Course in Greenfield, Mt. Vernon extended its streak to a half-dozen straight Hancock County Championships and 10 of the past 11.

“It started before I was coach,” said Zelencik, who is in his sixth season as the helm of the Marauders. “It (would be) tough coming into a situation like that where the program has had that level of success, but it’s been easy when you have the golfers we’ve had who come in every day and work hard.”

Zelencik’s Marauders shot a 328, 16 strokes better than runner-up New Palestine, which carded a 344. Eastern Hancock came in third with its 371, and Greenfield-Central finished fourth with a 375.

Depth proved the critical component in Mt. Vernon’s victory, as it slotted three of its golfers in the top four.

Will Dant fired an 80 to take fourth. Jacob Ault notched a 79 in third. Reigning Greenfield-Central Sectional champion Oliver Mast earned runner-up honors with his 78.

Jake Yurack rounded out the Marauders’ scoring with a 91.

“(Winning county) is obviously one of our goals coming into the season,” Zelencik said. “It’s a pride thing trying to keep streak going. It’s that local rivalry. It’s kind of nice to beat these uys.”

Zelencik’s Marauders would have earned the team and individual title sweep had it not been for New Palestine’s Brady Elliott. The Dragon claimed all-county honors and the individual crown with his 76, two strokes better than Mast.

Elliott entered Tuesday’s meet smelling blood in the water. While he knew a New Palestine team title would be a long shot against considering the depth of Mt. Vernon, the absence of one particular Marauder meant the individual championship was up for grabs.

Mt. Vernon’s Austin Alexander had claimed the Hancock County title three straight seasons, but with the Marauder star now graduated, Elliott knew the crown could be his.

“Coming in, I knew I definitely had a good chance of winning if I just played solid,” Elliott said. “With him (Alexander) gone, the title was mine for the taking.”

Elliott seized the championship by being a pillar of consistency. The senior shot a 38 on the back nine, which the golfers played first, then, with Mast breathing down his neck, another 38 on the front nine.

“He’s played these (high-intensity) tournaments for four years now,” New Palestine coach Gregg Greene. “His freshman year, he learned not to put too much pressure on himself and not to beat himself up after a bad hole. Now he can just blow it off and keep playing.”

For third-place Eastern Hancock, Nelson Dulin led the way with an 88, followed by Cole Allen’s 89, Matt Wilson’s 95 and Kenny Bunnell’s 99.

Early in the match, coach Chelsie Kelley sensed it was not going to be her Royals’ day. They got off to a rough start and were never able to recover.

Kelley said a consistent problem for her boys this season has been performing at a high level in big meets. She hopes that the Royals shook off the last of their jitters Tuesday before next week’s sectional.

As for Greenfield-Central, Clayton Long was the fifth and final all-county team member, as he fired an 83. Gage Mann posted an 84, followed by Dylan Holbrook’s 99 and Christian Henderson’s 109.

All four county teams will compete in the Greenfield-Central Sectional at Hawk’s Tail, beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.

Notes: Mt. Vernon’s 328 on Tuesday is the fourth-best team score the Marauders have posted in their six-year run. The 2011 squad fired a 306 to lead the group. … It is the second straight season the sophomore Mast has finished inside the top three. He took third last year with a 76. Elliott finished just behind him with a 78 … New Palestine’s Mitchell Simmons was the last non-Marauder to win the county title before Elliott. He shot a 72 to win in 2009. Mt. Vernon’s Grant Givan won the next two years, followed by the three-year reign of Alexander. … Simmons’ 2009 Dragons squad was the last non-Mt. Vernon team to win the team title.

Hancock County Golf Championship

Mt. Vernon won the Hancock County Golf Championship Tuesday at Arrowhead Golf Course in Greenfield. The Marauders won for the sixth straight year by shooting a 328 in the 18-hole event. Here are the final results:

Team champion: Mt. Vernon, 328

Individual champion: Brady Elliot (NP), 76

All County:

Brady Elliot (New Palestine), 76

Oliver Mast (Mt. Vernon), 78

Jacob Ault (Mt. Vernon), 79

Will Dant (Mt. Vernon), 80

Clayton Long (Greenfield-Central), 83

Final team scores:

Mt. Vernon (328): Oliver Mast 78, Will Dant 80, Jacob Ault 79, Jake Yurack 91.

New Palestine (344): Brady Elliott 76, Blake Barnette 88, Matt Kreutzer 89, Nick Lyon 91.

Eastern Hancock (371): Nelson Dulin 88, Cole Allen 89, Matt Wilson 95, Kenny Bunnell 99.

Greenfield-Central (375): Clayton Long 83, Gage Mann 84, Dylan Holbrook 99, Christian Henderson 109.