GREENFIELD — The wind whipped across Hawk’s Tail in Greenfield throughout the morning and into Monday afternoon, but gusts of nearly 20 mph weren’t enough to derail the Mt. Vernon Marauders.
“This was a goal we set way back in December when we worked together as a team in the offseason,” Mt. Vernon senior Oliver Mast remarked on his team’s resolve. “That was our main goal from the beginning, winning sectional.”
The Marauders will need another target to hit moving forward.
Shooting a 313, Mt. Vernon dethroned Hoosier Heritage Conference rival New Castle (315) to win the school’s first-ever boys golf sectional championship.
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Mast earned sectional medalist with a 1-over par 73 and the Marauders had three golfers fall under 80 to secure the formerly elusive.
“They handed it to me, and I’m not letting it go,” Mt. Vernon head coach Caleb Zelencik remarked while cradling the sectional trophy. “We needed that (313). We needed that effort. We knew what New Castle was bringing to the table. We knew we would have to be our best.
“I don’t know if we were our best, but we were good enough today.”
Four days prior on the same course, the Marauders successfully extended their Hancock County championship streak with a season-best 18-hole score of 306.
Their 313 was third lowest for the team this year. In April, the Marauders scored a 312 to win the Mt. Vernon Invitational.
“Today, 313 was a good score,” Mast said. “The wind really picked up out there. You really had to hang on for dear life and hope you finished well.”
Through the front nine, Mt. Vernon’s five golfers tallied a combined 208 as Xavier Dunham shot par at 36. The team collectively improved by nine shots through the back nine.
Mast had 11 pars and three birdies, while Dunham had three birdies and nine pars for a 76.
New Castle’s Kole Schofield scored a 75. The defending sectional champion Trojans will advance to this Friday’s regional at the Players Club at 9 a.m. along with the Marauders and Shelbyville (335), which was third.
Will Dant’s 79 proved crucial to the Marauders’ championship day, including an 85 from fifth golfer Max Heitman. Jacob Ault had an 88.
“Xavier coming up with a 76 was great. It’s something he’s been working hard towards and for him to finally do it was important,” Mast said. “Max shooting an 85 after struggling on the front nine (46), and to turn around and shoot a 39 on the back was big.”
“If Max isn’t there, we’re not here.”
A year ago, the Trojans won the sectional with a 313, while Mt. Vernon was third at 327.
Trailing New Castle through the front nine 156-161, it appeared the Trojans had a chance again, but the Marauders refused to give in.
“We didn’t play as well as we wanted to on the front nine, but one thing we talked about before was bouncing back and being resilient,” Zelencik said. “We did it today.”
Mast’s medalist honor was his eighth this season. He shot a 2-under par to win the distinction at county, which remains an 18-hole season low.
“Shooting that low at county on the sectional course just gave them that belief that they can,” Zelencik said. “This is a special group. If they keep that mindset, keep attacking and handling things like they have, they’ll be fine.”
Greenfield-Central’s Clayton Long (82) and Noah Mohler (85) both advanced to the regional as individuals. The top-three individuals without a team move on. New Palestine’s Blake Barnette shot a career-best 80 to advance.
Mt. Vernon 313, New Castle 315, Shelbyville 335, New Palestine 346, Greenfield-Central 369, Shenandoah 370, Triton Central 381, Blue River Valley 386, Eastern Hancock 400, Morristown 422
Regional-Qualifying Teams: Mt. Vernon, New Castle, Shelbyville
Medalist: Oliver Mast, Mt. Vernon (73)
Individuals Advancing Without a Team: Blake Barnette (New Palestine), Clayton Long (Greenfield-Central), Noah Mohler (Greenfield-Central)
Mt. Vernon: Oliver Mast 73, Xavier Dunham 76, Will Dant 79, Max Heitman 85, Jacob Ault 88
New Palestine: Blake Barnette 80, Evan Rejer 86, Nick Lyons 88, Elijah Domogala 92, Lucas Swanson 105
Eastern Hancock: Conner Cross 97, Cody Young 100, William Harwood 101, Kenneth Bunnell 102, Jait Schultz 105
Greenfield-Central: Clayton Long 82, Noah Mohler 85, Zach Archer 95, Kyle Arrowood 107, Nash Boyk 125