Triton tops, Bremen splits NSC triangular in dual meet opener

BREMEN — With a streak of dual meet victories reaching into the 50s, Triton’s top flight tandem of Quentyn Carpenter and Ryan Rapp are hoping to keep the string alive through their senior seasons.
They got off to a fair start Wednesday night.
Carpenter earned meet low medalist honors with a one-under 35, Rapp shot 38, and the Trojans got a big boost from No. 3 Tanner Shepherd’s 38 in the windy, wet, cold and generally sloppy conditions at Sprig O’Mint as Triton opened its dual meet season with a team score of 157 to top a three-way Northern State Conference field.
Bremen put up a 186 team score, meanwhile, to split the triangular with LaVille, which rounded out the pile with a 216.
“This was the start for us, and it’s very important for us. I’ll throw this out for you: Quentyn and Ryan have never lost a nine-hole match since they were freshmen,” said Triton golf coach Jack Carpenter. “We talked about it tonight, it’s going to be tough to maintain it, but this is the 52nd victory in a row for them. I told them that’s something they need to be proud of, but also the younger kids need to take ownership of it and know that there’s a lot expected out of them.”
Wednesday’s 35 was a nice turnaround for Carpenter on a day when the weather wasn’t giving anyone any help. The Ball State signee sunk birdie putts on the par 5 No. 4 and par 4 No. 8 to put up Triton’s low score, while fellow DI signee Rapp, a Marian University commit, went 2 over in the usual one-two punch for the Trojans.
But the nice surprise was supplied by Shepherd, who birdied the par 3 second hole at Sprig on his way to a 38 and a tie for third-place overall with Rapp at the NSC triangular. Lucas Shafer and Jaremiah Kinsey finished within a stroke of one another with respective scores of 46 and 47.
“Q has not been playing well. This is a nice little, I won’t say start for him, but definitely a far cry from what he’s been shooting… Maybe he found something tonight in his game. He’s been working hard every night until dark,” said Triton’s boss.
“Ryan has really been playing well. He has got game. He and Quentyn are going to be kind of like 1 and 1A, so to speak, for us, and they have got to stay low for us to have a chance as a team. The impressive score tonight for us was Tanner Shepherd’s 38. If I can get Tanner consistently under 40 then we’re going to surprise some people.”
While Carpenter was low medalist and Rapp and Shepherd finished in a tie for third, LaVille’s Zach Gurtner bogeyed the last hole to finish a stroke behind Carpenter with an even-par 36. It was a solid round for Gurtner coming off a low medalist-finish at the Triton Invitational at Rozella-Ford last Saturday, but the rest of the Lancers struggled Wednesday.
Cousin Cam Gurtner put up an uncharacteristically high 48, while newcomers Luke Laidig, Dustin Rover and Jeff Kimbel shot respective rounds of 67, 65 and 78.
“Zach’s a very good golfer, like Jack’s son, Quentyn,” said one-time LaVille golf coach Steve Read, filling in for Alan Burch who was out with prior commitments Wednesday. “Quentyn is by far the better golfer maturity-wise, playing golf-wise, but Zach’s pretty good. In the conference I would expect Quentyn to be number one and Zach to be number two or three. He’s mentally tough. We have some other people that aren’t as mentally tough as they need to be, and we have at three, four, five people who have never played varsity golf, so we’re very inexperienced and it showed with the scores that we had.”
“I was a little disappointed with Cameron Gurtner,” Read continued. “As he said he just didn’t hit it in the middle of the club, and if you don’t hit it in the middle of the club the ball doesn’t go very far. And he couldn’t get up and down because his putter gave up.”
With three first-year golfers in the LaVille lineup and an unusually cold spring limiting practice time, the Lancers are struggling to find 3 and 4 scores early. But the good news is there’s nowhere to go but up, says Read.
“We have a goal of 180, to get 80 out of the Gurtners and then 100 out of the other two. We’re a long way away from that on the other two, but eventually we’ll get there,” he said.
“We have not had a chance to play outside, and hitting into a net we can’t get very far along. This team will improve probably more than most teams I’ve coached because it’s just easy to improve when you’re not very good. They’ll get better.”
While Bremen wasn’t able to put up one of the low individual scores at its home course at Sprig Wednesday, it was a solid team start for the Lions with their top four scores all at 50 or below.
Micah Knoblock shot the Lions’ low round of 42 playing in the No. 2 spot, Kevin Woodyard shot 45, Sky Allen carded a 49, and Brad Foster shot 50 to round out the team’s score. Newcomer Clayton Phillips finished with a 53 in the 5 spot.
“As a team we’ve only been outside a couple of times together so coming out we didn’t expect to be world-beaters tonight. We were just trying not to overswing, trying not to do things that we’re not accustomed to doing this early in the season, especially on a bad weather night,” said Bremen head coach Ryan Eakins.
“I thought Micah had a nice round with a 42 as cold and wet as it was. Some other guys struggled a little bit, but it wasn’t just the first time out, it was cold and wet. I’m pleased with where we’re at; we should knock down a couple of strokes as soon as the weather warms up a little bit. I thought we putted better tonight than I expected, but it’s tough to strike the ball really well when you can’t feel your hands. We’ll get there. We’ve already improved our short game in a short while, and if we can strike the ball a little bit better and put the ball in the short grass — we only had one guy hit more than one fairway tonight — I think we’ll continue to get better around the greens and improve each night.”
While Bremen returns four of last year’s top five, Triton’s top three are all back and the Gurtners both return for LaVille, the rest of the field at Wednesday’s meet was new. The Northern State Conference meet won’t take place until May 18 at Mystic Hills and a lot can happen in a month, but the conference triangular at least gave some of the league’s newcomers a first look at who they could be playing against come NSC championship-time.
“I think if nothing else guys playing with guys that they could play with will really help them out psychologically,” said Eakins. “I think everybody knows Triton is going to be really, really good as always, and there are going to be a lot of teams vying for two and three. I think tonight shows our guys where they’re at a little bit with some other guys, especially our four and five guys can get a look at what the conference is like. We’ve got to put four scores out there, and hopefully we can get in the top three in the conference. It’s great to play these guys early on and see where they’re at, where we’re at and see where the chips are going to fall here in a month.”
• TRITON 157, BREMEN 186, LaVILLE 216
At Sprig O’Mint Golf Club (Par 36)
TRITON (157): Quentyn Carpenter 35, Ryan Rapp 38, Tanner Shepherd 38, Lucas Shafer 46, Jaremiah Kinsey 47.
BREMEN (186): Micah Knoblock 42, Kevin Woodyard 45, Sky Allen 49, Brad Foster 50, Clayton Phillips 53.
LaVILLE (216): Zach Gurtner 36, Cam Gurtner 48, Luke Laidig 67, Dustin Rover 65, Jeff Kimbel 78.
Records: Triton 2-0, Bremen 1-1, LaVille 0-1.
JV score: Triton 201, Bremen 205, LaVille NS