LIMA – The saying goes that championships are won in the offseason and Wapakoneta head coach Mike Brown can attest to that after the Redskins won the Western Buckeye League championship tournament Thursday at the par 72 Hidden Creek.
With the tournament win, Wapakoneta garners the WBL title outright for the first time in school history. The Redskins share the league crown with Shawnee in 1988. The Redskins got 10 points for going 9-0 in league play and an additional 10 points for winning the league tournament for a total of 20 points.
Shawnee was second with 18 points and Defiance was third with a score of 15.5. Points are awarded based on dual meet performances and a team’s overall finish in the tournament.
“The way they prepared I had a good feeling they could win the title this year,” Brown said.
Wapakoneta captured the league tournament by posting a team score of 326. Shawnee finished second with a score of 333, followed by Defiance that shot a 342 to round out the top three. St. Marys was fourth (345), followed by Elida (354), Bath (359), Ottawa-Glandorf (368), Kenton (380), Van Wert (381) and Celina (421).
Van Wert’s Jared Hernandez, named WBL player of the year, was the tournament medalist after defeating Shawnee’s Kenton McKinley on the third playoff hole after both linksters posted a 77 for the day. Wapakoneta’s Logan Miller and Austin Radcliff each shot a 79 to tie for third place.
In addition to Logan Miller’s tournament score, teammate Jared Miller shot an 81 and fellow Redskin Tanner Sweede posted an 82 and both captured all-league honors. Redskin Dusty Haggard notched an 84 and was an honorable mention performer.
The Redskins also made school history by going undefeated during the regular season with a 14-0 record and this is only the second time they have gone 9-0 in league play. The last time was in 1988.
Brown said it felt great for the team to garner the title after the long hours his golfers put in during the winter and summer.
“We had voluntary workouts in the gym where the kids could come in and hit wiffle balls and work on their swings during the winter,” Brown said. “We also have kids who were heavily into the Lima junior summer program.”
Brown added that the team’s preparation did not end once the season began.. When the squad was going to play at a course they were unfamiliar with they would scout it beforehand and play the course a week ahead of time to get get a feel of what to expect.
“They did their due diligence,” Brown said. “I told them being prepared was important and they took that to heart. They followed the coaching and they are good listeners and good kids.”
With a league title under their belt, the Redskins will now get ready for sectional play Oct. 4 at the Mohawk Golf and Country Club in Tiffin.
And true to form, Brown expects the players to go up and play a practice round and check out the course prior to their postseason beginning.
“We have a good chance as team of getting out but if something unexpected happens I think one or two individuals could advance,” Brown said.
Also earning all-league honors were Hernandez, McKinley, Shawnee’s Sam Reed, Elida’s Drew Sarno, St. Marys’ Jake Hollman, Jill Schmitmeyer and Austin Cook, Defiance’s Jacob Black and Ottawa-Glandorf’s Austin Radcliff.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1