Jun. 2—MIDDLEBURY — Nobody has shot a lower score across 18 holes at Meadow Valley Golf Course than Silas Haarer.
The Westview sophomore picked a great time to make history, shooting a 5 under 66 to be the individual champion at the boys golf sectional Friday afternoon in Middlebury. This, three days after shooting a 65 to win the Leo Hawk Invitational Tuesday at Noble Hawk GC, which was a tournament record.
"I'm still kind of in shock," Haarer said. "This is a fun course to play, and it just happened to be the right day for me. I played well."
Westview played the back-nine first. Haarer shot even-par on that side with a 35. He then took his game to another level when playing the front, carding a 31. He made four pars and five birdies, coming on holes No. 2, 3, 6, 8 and 9. He gave a celebratory fist pump after sinking his final putt of the day.
Haarer admits he wasn't really sure how low his score was until the final hole.
"I kind of had it in the back of my mind, but I think nerves just kind of blocked that," Haarer said. "... There are so many great players here. My expectations weren't necessarily to win, but to just do the best I can. Congrats to the other players, too; there were some really good scores."
Haarer's score led Westview to a team score of 324, good enough for a second-place finish. Northridge won a third-straight sectional championship with a winning score of 321, while Fairfield was third with a 328, meaning all three teams will continue their seasons next week at the Warsaw regional.
Three individuals from non-advancing teams also move on to the regional: Lakeland senior Ben Keil, NorthWood senior Earl Williams and Bremen's Joshua Kling. The regional is scheduled to be played Thursday at Stonehenge GC in Winona Lake.
Joining Haarer in scoring for Westview was Brett Springer with an 82 and a pair of 88s from Wade Springer and Bryan Yoder. It was the second-straight invite the Warriors have shot 324 in, which was a big step up from the 340-360 range the team had played at most of the season.
"I think it's the team bonding together," said Westview coach Jeff Marchant on his team's late-season surge. "They've always been bonded together through the season, but now it's crunch time. They're coming together, trying to shoot personal bests, and they're doing a good job."
NORTHRIDGE REIGNS FOR THIRD-STRAIGHT YEAR
It might not have been Northridge's best effort, but their score of 321 helped win a sectional championship for a third-straight season.
"It was tough (Friday)," Northridge coach Ken Brewster admitted. "They didn't play very well to start, but I'm proud of the kids and the way they battled. That's been our M.O. all year. If you look at our splits, this was 162 (on the front nine) and 159 (on the back nine). I think we were down pretty big after the turn, and just the way they battled back and didn't try to make it all back at once ... I'm very proud of the team."
Senior Brock Reschly was able to lead the Raiders with a 75. He overcame hitting two shots out of bounds on the 16th hole to still finish fourth in the individual standings.
Junior Coby Hochstetler carded an 80, with his twin brother, Conner, scoring 83 and junior Vadim Kidun posting an 83 as well.
"It's one of those things where you want to see the kids win for them, and to kind of see it start to slip away and you're not really sure what else is going on — it's nice for the kids to comeback and win," Brewster said. "I'm going to say this until I'm blue in the face: it has nothing to do with me. The kids, they've worked hard."
FAIRFIELD FINISHES THIRD
Sophomore Brayden Miller finished tied for second individually with a 70 to pace the Falcons. Senior Carter Kitson had an 82, junior Miles Nine 88 and senior Andrew Miller 88 to round out the scoring.
"I felt like the front-nine, we really played well and I really liked where we were at," Fairfield coach John Kauffman said. "I knew we'd be in the hunt to win. Obviously, I'm pleased to move on, get a chance to redeem ourselves next week and see what we can do. Our best has been a 313, and we feel we can go lower than that. Certainly, I feel like we need to be at 310 next week, and I think that's a number we can reach if we play to our potential."
WAWASEE FOURTH AT WARSAW SECTIONAL
Another area team that played Friday, but wasn't at Meadow Valley, was Wawasee. The Warriors were part of the sectional tournament at Rozella Ford GC in Warsaw, finishing fourth with a team score of 324. While they fell one spot short of advancing as a team, Vaughn Dyson was able to advance to the regional as an individual with his score of 78.
Two other Goshen News coverage area teams, Elkhart and Jimtown, play in a sectional Monday at Erskine GC in South Bend.
2023 BOYS GOLF SECTIONAL AT MEADOW VALLEY GC — Results
Top three teams, as well as the top three individuals from non-advancing teams, advance to the Warsaw regional, Thursday June 8 at Stonehenge GC in Winona Lake
1. Northridge, 321: Brock Reschly 75, Coby Hochstetler 80, Conner Hochstetler 83, Vadim Kidun 83, Isaiah Lehman 90
2. Westview, 324: Silas Haarer 66 (medalist; course record), Brett Springer 82, Wade Springer 88, Bryan Yoder 88, Judson Hershberger 101
3. Fairfield, 328: Brayden Miller 70, Carter Kitson 82, Miles Nine 88, Andrew Miller 88, Jasper Carl 94
4. NorthWood, 332: Earl Williams 76 (individual advancer to regional), Ashton Hochstetler 84, Trevor Barrett 85, Caleb Vincent 87, Chase Feenstra 98
5. Lakeland, 348: Ben Keil 70 (individual advancer to regional), Tommy Curtis 85, Nate Keil 92, Kyle Hartsough 101, Brady Ferguson 104
6. Concord, 352: Charlie Deuel 86, Lucas Prough 86, Nathan Schraw 86, Benjamin Harris 94, Tommy Brunner 100
7. Goshen, 353: Myles McLaughlin 85, Todd Kauffman 86, Joshua Narayan 86, Tyler Scott 96, Braxten Sheets 98
8. Bremen, 386: Joshua Kling 77 (individual advancer to regional), Hunter Miller 94, Max Varner 103, Isaiah Starr 112, Easton Reed 118
9. Prairie Heights, 393: Braeden Morr 89, Noah Butler 95, Leyton Byler 101, Brayden Levitz 108, William Abbott 116
10. Elkhart Christian, 395: Aiden Hibbard 79, Kian Hibbard 93, Caleb Overmyer 108, Carson Hiler 115, Jaden Vida 119
11. Bethany Christian, 403: Noah Schrock 89, Cam Heinisch 91, Keagan Meyer 99, Emerson Landis 124, Jack Goldman 125
12. West Noble, 431: Isaac Mast 104, Nevin Phares 105, Luke Schermerhorn 107, Austin Cripe 115, Rodrigo Melchor 117
Austin Hough can be reached at email@example.com or at 574-538-2360. Follow him on Twitter at @AustinHoughTGN.