Triton’s Rapp, Carpenter wrap with All-State honors

FRANKLIN — Triton’s senior top flighters went out in style at Wednesday’s state finals.
Ryan Rapp followed up his 2-under 70 at Tuesday’s opening round with another 70 to finish in fifth place overall at 4-under 140, and Quentyn Carpenter shaved a stroke off his opening round with a 73 but still fell a spot in the final standings to 24th with a 3-over 147 over two days at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin. Rapp’s fifth-place result earned him an automatic All-State selection, while Carpenter’s finish was also good enough to make the All-State cut when added to the state series points he had already accumulated via a runner-up finish at regional and third-place result at sectional.
It was a fitting send-off to the storied careers of the two DI recruits, who closed out their freshman seasons at the state meet back in 2010 in the Trojans’ first-ever team state berth.
“Most people here (at state) have five studs, they have five kids that can shoot in the 70s; we’re probably the only program here that doesn’t,” said Triton golf coach Jack Carpenter. “We have two kids that go very, very low, and the other two we just try to get them through the best that we can. It just says a lot for Quentyn and Ryan to be able to bring those kids along, to get them this far. Basically, they’re the ones that brought them here. If we didn’t have them, there’s no way we were even close.”
Rapp was in the hunt for the individual championship at the turn at 5 under Wednesday, and he moved to 6 under with a birdie on the par 5 second hole at The Legends before a trio of bogeys on 4, 6 and 8 pushed him back to 3 under par. He ended on a high note with a birdie on the par 4 ninth to edge out Madison’s Jordan Griffith by a stoke after the duo closed out Tuesday’s opening round in a tie for fifth.
“On the last hole after taking bogey on three of my last four I figured I probably should try and birdie,” joked Rapp of his finish Wednesday. “No, I ended up in the fairway and had a good approach and just made the putt. It was pretty cool.”
“It’s a great note to end a high school career on, I think. A top five finish and All-State, a great way to end,” he said. “It’s just icing on the cake, really. All-State wasn’t my goal at all.”
The fifth-place All-State finish was just the latest accolade for Rapp, a Marian University signee who seemed to turn a corner over the last month of his high school career with championships at the Uebele Invitational, the Northern State Conference Meet and the Warsaw Sectional.
“I played really bad last year and turned it around during the fall and summer. It carried on into this season; hopefully it’ll carry on into the next four years,” said Rapp. “Like I’ve said, the last few weeks my attitude has changed towards the game. It helps a lot; I don’t get frustrated on the course.”
“His last four weeks of high school golf have just been absolutely incredible,” said Jack. “I’d like to say, I think his last six rounds he is probably at like 9 under. He’s just had one heck of a run here as of late.”
As in Tuesday’s opening round, Quentyn hit the turn at 3 under Wednesday following a three-birdie back nine, but bogeys on 1 and 4 and a double bogey finish on 9 pushed him back to 1 over for the day and 3 over for the tournament. The Ball State recruit had to wait some two hours after finishing his round before getting the good news about making the All-State team, but while he wasn’t thrilled by his finish immediately following the round, he was happy to end his high school career back at state after missing the individual cut out by three strokes at last year’s Homestead Regional following back-to-back state appearances with the team and individually in 2010 and 2011.
“I was playing golf the way I should, posting a good score, but unfortunately I just couldn’t drop putts. And then I doubled my last hole on kind of some bad luck, but it happens,” said Carpenter.
“Making it back to state was my first goal this year. I made a list at the beginning of the season, and that was at the top of it. It was pretty heartbreaking not making it back down here last year. It wasn’t the scores I wanted; it wasn’t the season I wanted either, but it’s golf, and I’ve got four more years to go to college and get better. This is just the beginning for me.”
While Carpenter and Rapp sewed up All-State selections Wednesday, the Triton team also ended the year on a high note with a 304, nine strokes better than the Trojans’ opening round score on Tuesday.
With the 617 tournament score, Triton finally got over the hump versus area rival Warsaw, which had beaten out the Trojans by a stoke for the Warsaw Sectional championship on May 31, then trumped Triton for the regional title at Stonehenge via fifth-score tiebreaker last Thursday. The Trojans entered Wednesday’s final round trailing Warsaw by seven strokes, but the team’s 304 Wednesday was good enough to edge out the Tigers by two strokes for 14th place in the elite 15-team field.
“The 304 that we shot here today was probably just as good if not better than the 305 we shot (at regional) at Stonehenge because we know the Stonehenge course a little bit better,” said Jack. “Plus there’s a little added pressure just being that you’re in the state finals with a lot more people watching.”
Of the nine strokes Triton shaved off Wednesday, Quentyn Carpenter accounted for one and junior Tanner Shepherd cut off three, but most of the difference was made by junior Lucas Shafer, who saved his best golf for last following up his 84 Tuesday with a 79 Wednesday. Shafer got off to a hot start with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 then closed with a pair of pars on 8 and 9 to end the year with a career-low.
“I had a great start, birdie, birdie, and I just kept going,” said Shafer. “At the very end I went double, double, and I was getting kind of worried because I didn’t think I was going to break 80, but I finished out with par and par. It was pretty good.”
While Wednesday’s dual All-State nominations made a fitting bookend to the high school careers of Quentyn Carpenter and Rapp, the two have plenty of golf still ahead of them as Rapp moves on to Marian, and Carpenter heads to Ball State. With the four-year mainstays now departing, Triton golf will have some work to do to get back to the run of success it’s enjoyed over the past several seasons.
“Our solution next year is we’re not going to have that kid. I know that Tanner has got a bug and my Shafer kid I think he’s really starting to feel that he can play some golf, so our idea next year is instead of having two low scores and a couple higher, we’re just going to need a bunch of kids around 80,” said Jack. “We just keep pushing them, keep prodding them, trying to get them to play as much as they can in the summer time. It’s not easy in a small program to do that.
“The expectations aren’t going to get any less. We want to keep that momentum going. They say success breeds success so I’m hoping that the younger kids that are here watching kind of see what Quentyn and Ryan have done and the groups before them, and they want to keep that pride within the program.”
At The Legends Golf Club (Par 72)
Team scores: 1. Westfield 575, 2. Columbus North 577, 3. Floyd Central 580, 4. Jasper 591, 5. Noblesville 592, 6. Avon 594, 7. TIE Bishop Dwenger, Evansville Memorial, Hamilton Southeastern 604, 10. Pendleton Heights 608, 11. Carmel 611, 12. Valparaiso 612, 12. Terre Haute North 615, 14. Triton 617, 15. Warsaw 619.
TRITON (617): Quentyn Carpenter (74-73-147); Ryan Rapp (70-70-140); Tanner Shepherd (85-82-167); Lucas Shafer (84-79-163); Gregory Music (95-103-198).