West Holmes head coach Isaac Haver has waited patiently for his golf team to put it all together this season. All fall Haver has said he felt like this team was capable of putting up some nice numbers, and while they have done so individually, they hadn’t put it all together.
That all changed Thursday, Sept. 20 at the Ohio Cardinal Conference championships, where the Knights fired off a strong 332.
That score left the Knights trailing only champion Lexington’s 317 and runner-up Ashland’s 325. Mt. Vernon was fourth at 338 while Wooster took fifth with a 349 and Madison next at 352.
“We are very excited about the way the guys played today,” Haver said. “Going into it, I think we went in with the mind-set that we were going to be successful. We went in thinking that we could compete, and we did a great job of it. Going in, we had to be mentally tough from the start, especially on that course. I thought we showed a lot of maturity and growth.”
While Ashland’s Max Watson was a run-away winner for medalist honors with a two-under-par 70, West Holmes senior Carter Hahn was runner-up medalist with a 76, tying Ashland’s Tyler Sabo for that honor.
“Carter actually had a fever today, and he was not feeling well, so we kept a close eye on him throughout the day, but he really played great,” Haver said of Hahn. “He has performed really well in 18-hole matches this season.”
After Hahn’s 76, Evan Yoder notched an 81, Hunter Ellis carded an 86, Gavin Christine shot an 89 and Brett Mirich added a 91, all of those players coming up big in giving West Holmes its fine effort.
With the win Lexington took home first place in the OCC while Ashland finished second, but with their terrific effort in the league tournament, the Knights were able to forge a tie for third place with Mt. Vernon and Wooster, both of whom beat them in the regular season.
“That was our lowest 18-hole round in four years, and we improved 23 shots from last year’s score at the OCCs at Mohican,” Haver said. “That course can be intimidating, but tee to green we did pretty well. Our ball-striking was really solid.”
Haver said his team can still improve its scores by shoring up some play around the green, but overall he was extremely satisfied with the effort.
“We have slowly been improving, but recognizing areas where we can grow is also big for us to understand,” Haver said.
Haver said about halfway through this season he sat down with his players and they talked about why they were producing the kinds of team numbers they wanted to shoot.
“We looked at it as a team and tried to recognize where we needed to improve,” Haver said. “We all felt that we needed to change a few things in practice and change the way we approached the game and intensify our focus. I thought our preparation got better, and they are now pushing each other to compete and play better, and that has made a huge difference.”