FORT WAYNE — A sectional championship is nice, but Triton’s boys golf team has even bigger fish to fry.
The Trojans won their first-ever sectional title by beating out four-peat defending champion Warsaw with a fifth-man score on the Tigers’ home course at Stonehenge Golf Club last Friday. But Triton head coach Jack Carpenter pledged his team wouldn’t be resting on any laurels as the little Class A squad hunts for a second-straight state finals berth at the Homestead Regional Thursday.
Joining the Trojans at Orchard Ridge Country Club will be Culver Military Academy, which shot a team score of 320 behind Triton’s and Warsaw’s 304 for the last team ticket to the regional round of the 75th Annual IHSAA Boys State Golf Tournament, while Bremen’s Taylor Fanning will also make his second straight appearance at Homestead after a round of 81 for one of three individual berths out of the Warsaw tourney. Meanwhile, John Glenn senior Adam Anspaugh will join the field at the LaPorte Regional at Beechwood on Friday. Both regionals are scheduled for 8 a.m. EST.
“What I’m going to tell them is ‘You’ve got tonight to celebrate. Tomorrow comes and our mindset is the regional,’” said Carpenter following his team’s groundbreaking sectional championship last week. “It’s going to be a dogfight; it’s loaded over there. At the beginning of the year, we talked about our goal this year is a second day at state. Not just to get to state, but we want to get to that second day. But you’ve got to get through sectionals to get to regionals, you’ve got to get through regionals to get to state. That’s our mindset.”
The Trojans, which return all five of their top golfers from last year’s state series, advanced through Homestead to the 2010 state finals by beating out Prairie Heights for the number three spot out of Orchard Ridge on a fifth-man score in similar fashion to the way they won last Friday’s sectional meet. The team ultimately missed the second day cut at The Legends with a 303, just six strokes back of Martinsville’s 297, and the Trojans are hoping to rewrite history in 2011.
“I think they were disappointed last year because we were only six shots from moving on,” Carpenter said. “I know a couple guys know where those six shots lie that could’ve gotten them there, and they know what they’ve got to do.”
While the team missed a top nine spot at state last year, then freshman Quentyn Carpenter — one of two of Jack’s sons on the squad along with brother Griffyn — made the second day cut individually, ultimately placing in a tie for 14th with a 143 after two rounds. He’s off to a strong start in this year’s state series as well, carding a 1-under-par 70 for the Warsaw Sectional low medal last week.
“He played great. He started the day with a bogey, actually a very good bogey where he had to make a long putt just to save bogey,” said Jack. “I think that might have given him the mental edge he needed because he was solid from there on out.”
While the Eagles placed third for their second consecutive regional berth last Friday, they were still disappointed in their finish as they came in 16 strokes back of Triton and Warsaw, both of which they beat during regular season play. But the goal is to survive and advance, and CMA lives to challenge their rivals another day. The team is hoping it can carry some of its momentum from the back side at Stonehenge over to Thursday’s round.
“Obviously, that was our goal, just to advance to the next level,” said CMA head coach Fred Haase. “We hoped we’d be a little more competitive with Warsaw and Triton because we’ve beaten both teams before in the regular season, we just couldn’t get it done.
“We got off to a bad start. We had an awfully bad front nine, but we had a pretty good back nine, which helped.”
On the heels of his 76 last week, Anspaugh hunts for one of the top three spots for individuals from non-advancing teams at the LaPorte meet Friday, while Bremen’s Fanning is looking for a strong finish to his final year with the Lions after finishing just two strokes short of a state berth at last year’s Homestead meet. The Grace College signee is hoping he can parlay his experience both at the regional level and at Orchard Ridge into a top three finish.
“It’s not too hard of a course,” he said. “It’s a little tight, but I can handle that, I think.”