Has Lexington Christian Academy been counting down to a boys' state golf championship the last few years?
In 2007, the Eagles finished fourth in the state.
In 2008, they were third.
In 2009, they were second.
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In 2010, their goal is obvious.
"Getting to No. 1 is what we've been building toward," Coach Eric Geldhof said. "Now we want to get there."
LCA will be among the favorites when the Leachman/KHSAA State Tournament is played Friday and Saturday at Bowling Green Country Club.
St. Xavier, as usual, is the team to beat. The Tigers have won a record 18 titles, including the last two. They edged LCA by a shot last year.
St. X is led by defending individual champ Justin Thomas, who beat LCA's Hunter Stewart in a playoff last October. Thomas, who made the cut in a PGA Tour event in 2009, helped the USA win the Junior Ryder Cup in Scotland last week.
Thomas didn't play in the region, but St. X qualified for the state without him. (If the Tigers hadn't qualified, Thomas would have been exempted into the state tournament.)
LCA has had a sensational season. It served notice of its potential in early August when it shot 24-under par (believed to be a state record) in the first round of a tournament at Griffin Gate.
Stewart, a senior who led the way with a 63 at Griffin Gate, has been the Eagles' most consistent performer.
But the Eagles' strength is solid play from their other four golfers — senior Taylor Combs, and juniors Hager Collins, Chandler Fischer and Ethan Sprang.
They lived up to their billing by winning the region by 14 shots. But the state title is the prize they really want.
"That's our goal, but we're going to stay in the present, get a game plan for each of us and get a good idea of what we need to do," said Stewart.
Geldhof is big on crunching numbers and devising strategies for his players. Combs said extensive preparation gives them confidence.
"When you get on the course, a lot of stuff happens you can't control," he said. "But if you've got a game plan, you know how you're going to go about getting the ball in the hole."
While St. X and LCA are obvious contenders, Geldhof said West Jessamine and Henry Clay bear watching, too.
West Jessamine, which finished sixth last year, is led by senior Nate Johnson and freshman Fred Allen Meyer, along with sophomore Travis Rose, eighth-grader Conner Haas and senior Jordan Wood.
Henry Clay, the 2006 state champ, is led by junior Preston French, who was region medalist with a 68. The Blue Devils' lineup also includes juniors Andrew Kirk, Michael O'Brien, Matthew O'Brien and senior Harrison Combs.
Qualifying for the state as individuals were Will Bishop of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Kyle Congleton of Madison Central and Will Kelly of Model.