Lexington Christian was coming off a runner-up performance at regional when it entered the 2010 and 2011 state tournaments. The Eagles left Bowling Green with the state title each of those years.
This year’s LCA squad will have to match that quirky coincidence if another state championship is in the program’s immediate future. The Eagles finished second to Madison Central by one stroke, 292-293, at the 9th Region boys’ golf tournament at Kearney Hill Golf Links on Monday.
Zach Miller, playing alongside LCA’s Jansen Preston and Scott County’s Trevor Caudill in the final group to tee off Monday morning, paced Madison Central with an even-par 72. The Indians took the team title for the second straight year in the 9th Region.
“We’ve got three seniors on the team so we are really enjoying this moment,” said Miller, who is part of that trio. “We’d love to do something more in Bowling Green this year so I think that’s what we’re gonna try to do.”
Miller, who won the individual region title as a junior, missed the cut at state last season and Madison Central finished 17th as a team.
“Last year we were young,” Miller said. “We still are. I mean, we’re just seniors in high school. We’re all 17, 18. It’s a different level down there. You gotta know where to miss. I think last year was just a practice run. This year I think it should go a lot smoother.”
An LCA golfer walked away with an individual title, but it wasn’t the Eagles’ No. 1 hitter who took the crown.
Preston finished in a tie for fourth place. Jackson Lalonde, LCA’s guy in the No. 2 slot and in the group playing ahead of Preston’s, shot a 5-under-67 on Monday.
“He’s just been so close,” LCA Coach Eric Geldhof said of Lalonde’s performance this year. “He’s lost a playoff. He’s supposed to be ‘that guy’ and he just broke through today. So, we’ve got him primed at the right point in the season.”
Lalonde said the toughest part about playing Kearney is reading the greens. “There’s a lot of hills and undulation in the greens, so it makes it difficult.”
The course at Bowling Green Country Club suits LCA’s golfers well, Lalonde said.
“Our team plays better on a tight course compared to others because we all drive it pretty straight,” LaLonde said. “Here it makes it a little harder on our team cause it’s a longer course. I think we’ll do good.”
Ethan Hill, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar, finished as the individual runner-up with a 3-under-69 and was the highest finishing participant not on one of the top-two teams (both of whom will send their full complement of players on to the state tournament). Lafayette’s Henry Lane and Franklin County’s Will Harnice also qualified for state.
Hill was the medalist in this year’s Fayette County Cup, leading Dunbar to the team title in that tournament last Monday. The senior became Dunbar’s first boys’ golfer to advance to state since Harrison Clarke in 2013.
“It’s awesome,” Hill said. “Just all the hard work paying off, it’s really cool. Really cool.”
He turned in his scorecard almost an hour before the final group finished.
“Going out early, you never really know what will come in later,” Hill said. “I wasn’t really sure. I figured that I could maybe get that top three and go to state. And I did, so that’s really cool.”
1. Madison Central 292, 2. Lexington Christian 293, 3. Henry Clay 297, 4. Scott County 312, 5. Lafayette 314, 6. Paul Laurence Dunbar 318, 7. Lexington Catholic 321, 8. Franklin County 324, 9. Model 329, 10. Tates Creek 339, 11. Sayre 344, 12. Clark County 351, 13. Frederick Douglass 360, 14. Western Hills 62, 15. Madison Southern 429.
1. Jackson Lalonde, Lexington Christian, 67; 2. Ethan Hill, Paul Laurence Dunbar, 69; 3. Henry Lane, Lafayette; t4. Will Harnice, Franklin County, 71; t4. Jansen Preston, Lexington Christian, 71; t6. Will Ginter, Henry Clay, 72; t6. Chris Koteski, Madison Central, 72; t6. Blake Maupin, Madison Central, 72; t6. Zach Miller, Madison Central, 72; t10. Jack Bergstrom, Sayre, 74; t10. Mike Swanson, Henry Clay, 74.