WAUSEON — For the second straight season, Montpelier’s golf team came up just short of a Buckeye Border Conference Tournament title.
But the Locomotives still performed well enough to grab a piece of their second consecutive league crown.
Juniors Jaxon Richmond and Drake Sommer finished second and third, respectively, to lead Montpelier to runner-up in the BBC Tournament on Thursday at a chilly and windy Ironwood Golf Club in Wauseon. The Locos (7-0 in BBC in regular season) and Pettisville (6-1) both earned a share of the championship after the Blackbirds won Thursday’s tournament.
“It’s always disappointing coming in second, but we beat them at our home course (in the regular season) and then obviously this is their home course so it plays a lot into it,” Montpelier coach Brandon Shoup said. “Getting beat by them here, we still get the share of the title, so there’s some positives out of today though.”
Pettisville, led by a 5-over 77 from freshman and medalist Jack Leppelmeier, shot a 339. Montpelier had a 357, while North Central, which won last year’s BBC tournament to share the title with the Locos, finished third with a 378.
Stryker (390) was fourth, followed by Hilltop (412), Holgate (416) and Fayette (429).
In challenging conditions with the wind swirling through the course, Richmond had two birdies in his round of 80. Sommer also had a pair of birdies en route to firing an 83.
North Central freshman Kenneth Smeltzer finished fourth with an 84. Junior Ben Bettit had an 88, including birdies on the par-4 No. 2 hole and par-5 No. 14 hole, to finish seventh for an Eagles’ team that had to replace four seniors from last year’s squad.
“We knew it coming into this year, I don’t like to say that we didn’t have a chance, but Montpelier and Pettisville are really, really solid,” North Central coach Eric Smeltzer said, “and losing those four seniors last year off of that BBC championship team, we knew we were rebuilding this year.
“But to have Ben step up as a junior and play well and Kenneth playing well and being our No. 1 man pretty much all year... Very proud of the guys, it’s not first or second but for rebuilding after losing four seniors, I am really pleased with how the guys finished.”
Richmond, who earned BBC player of the year, birdied Nos. 2 and 14. He had one tough hole — a bad tee shot led to a triple-bogey seven on No. 8, the most exposed part of the course in windy conditions — but he immediately bounced back with a par on the par-4 No. 9 hole for a 40 on the front nine.
“It’s definitely a whole different mindset coming out here when it’s so windy. But one bad hole can’t ruin you,” Richmond said. “Last Saturday, I took a quadruple (bogey) on the first hole (in the Pettisville Invitational at Ironwood) and still ended up with 77, so I knew I could have one bad hole and still be in this.”
Richmond said he was excited to receive player of the year honors. He entered the standings in first after the regular-season matches.
“It feels really good. I knew coming into this I was in first and I had to perform decently, so I got a score up there that was good enough to keep my spot,” Richmond said.
Sommer tallied birdies on the par-5 No. 7 hole and par-4 No. 10 hole. Seniors Trent Thorp (12th) and Easten Richmond (15th) shot 96 and 98, respectively, to post top-15 finishes and round out the Locos’ score.
“We don’t mind the cold, everybody’s got to play in it. It’s windy, everybody’s got to play in that too,” Shoup said. “It’s just whoever handles it the best and some of our guys did really well with it and a couple of them didn’t do as well. We came out (Wednesday) night and it was windy, and I thought we were pretty well prepared. But just didn’t execute.”
For North Central, junior Keanu Miller shot a 101 and senior Landon Justice a 105.
Smeltzer said he was pleased with how his team responded after a tough showing at the Pettisville Invitational (17th with a 397).
“(I) was a little bit nervous after last Saturday over here at the Pettisville invite, the weather was much better than today and we really struggled bad last Saturday,” he said. “So for them to turn it around and play well today, it’s awesome.”
Freshman William Donovan led Stryker with a 93, which was good for 11th, and sophomore Daniel Donovan added a 97 (tied for 13th). Sophomore Kennedy Morr was close behind with a 99, and junior Angela Soellner’s 101 completed the Panthers’ score.
For Hilltop, freshmen Austin Gault (101), Jordan Schaffner (102) and Lakota Siegel (104) had the Cadets’ top three scores. Junior Dylan Siebenaler added a 105.
Blake Dulle led Edon with a 143, while Hope Siebenaler (144) and Ashton Rice (148) also competed for the Bombers.
Creighton Aeschliman (fifth with an 86), Blayn Meck (sixth with an 87) and Aiden Crawford (eighth with an 89) helped Pettisville finish first. Samuel Myers also had a top-10 showing individually (10th with a 92).
Jaxon Richmond, Leppelmeier, Sommer, Kenneth Smeltzer, Fayette junior Wyatt Mitchell (ninth with a 90) and Pettit comprised the all-BBC first team. Pettisville and Montpelier both finished 13-1 in league play, with North Central (9-5) edging Stryker (8-6) for third overall.
1, Pettisville 339; 2, Montpelier 357; 3, North Central 378; 4, Stryker 390; 5, Hilltop 412; 6, Holgate 416; 7, Fayette 429.
T-1, Montpelier and Pettisville 13-1; 3, North Central 9-5; 4, Stryker 8-6; 5, Hilltop 7-7; T-6, Fayette and Holgate 3-11; 8, Edon 0-14.
Jaxon Richmond, jr., Montpelier (Player of the Year); Jack Leppelmeier, fr., Pettisville; Drake Sommer, jr., Montpelier; Kenneth Smeltzer, fr., North Central; Wyatt Mitchell, jr., Fayette; Ben Pettit, jr., North Central.
Creighton Aeschliman, fr., Pettisville; Blayn Meck, sr., Pettisville; Trent Thorp, sr., Montpelier; Daniel Donovan, soph., Stryker; Sam Myers, sr., Pettisville; Caden Bishop, soph., Pettisville.
Easten Richmond, sr., Montpelier; Jordan Schaffner, fr., Hilltop; William Donovan, fr., Stryker; Austin Gault, fr., Hilltop; Lakota Siegel, fr., Hilltop; Nathan Miller, soph., Holgate.