By Josh Brown
TROY — The Troy boys golf team’s seniors were celebrated on Wednesday.
After Tuesday, they had plenty to celebrate.
Troy hosted Tippecanoe in a matchup between district qualifiers on its Senior Night Wednesday at Troy Country Club, and the five Trojans seniors led the way past the Red Devils for a 161-165 victory.
The previous day, Tippecanoe had finished second at the Division I sectional and Troy finished fourth to grab the final qualifying spot, with both teams advancing to next week’s district tournament.
“With both teams making it to district, it was great to get a competitive round in,” Troy coach Mark Evilsizor said. “But it also served as a great way to honor our seniors.”
Holden Scribner led Troy’s five seniors by shooting 34 to claim medalist honors in one final dual match. Connor Stoltz followed with a 41, Nathan Henderson added a 42, Travis Bertram shot 44 and Zac Collin shot 45. Ryan Dowling, the only Trojan underclassman to play on the day, shot 51.
“Holden was medalist, so he ended his match career the way he expected to,” Evilsizor said. “He went 2-under on the last four holes. And with five seniors, they’re all going to get the chance to finish out their careers at district. Obviously for Holden’s sake, we want that to continue one more week, but this gives the seniors one more chance to play together as a team.”
For Tippecanoe, Matt Salmon led the way with 37, Nathan Gagnon shot 39, Braydon Bottles shot 44, Ian Smith shot 45, Austin Post shot 46 and Nolan Mader shot 52.
And with Scribner not playing as well at the Division I sectional tournament Tuesday at Reid North as he had on the same course slightly more than a week before, shooting an 80 after posting a 72 and earning medalist honors at the Christoff Memorial, his teammates got to be the heroes — particularly Henderson.
“That was what was so cool about last night,” Evilsizor said about the sectional performance. “We’ve talked several times this year about those guys No. 2 through 6 all playing pretty similar, and it turned out that Nathan was the hero. We wouldn’t be at district as a team if he hadn’t come in so clutch. That was key.
“We were in the last set Tuesday, and we knew there were about six teams we needed to beat to get to district. Four of those six had finished well before we did, so I knew what scores we needed. After that, all that was left was Beavercreek, so it really came down to beating Bellefontaine’s 357. So I began crunching numbers to see what would get us down to 356.”
And things quickly began to add up.
“I knew Holden had an 80,” Evilsizor said. “I knew Connor would be near 95, and I thought Dowling would be close to 90 and knew Zac had struggled, so it really came down to Nathan. So my decision was to not tell Nathan anything, and I met up with him at (hole No. 6) and saw him par that, his first on the day. He was happy, so I let him go on 7 and watched him come in on 8. He told me he had birdied 7 — and then the numbers really started going through my head.
“I knew he needed about a double bogey on 9 to be pretty safe. And I told the kids that they weren’t going anywhere near the green. The kids left him alone, he ended up parring 9 and we beat Bellefontaine by four. Nathan was excited that he could contribute in such a huge way and the boys were excited for him — and, in a nutshell, that’s what this group is all about. It was nice for everybody to share in the moment.”
And for Scribner — who is still aiming to qualify for the state tournament for the first time — it can only help. The last time a Troy golfer qualified for state was 2015, when Troy Moore accomplished the feat. That year, the Trojans also played as a team at the district tournament.
“In the long run, I think this is going to help Holden,” Evilsizor said. “He gets to play with his teammates, so it was a really big moment for us to get back to districts as a team. Holden was a freshman that year, so Troy had somebody to push him. So now our job over the next week is to team up on Holden and push him, get him where he needs to be come Thursday.”
The district tournament will be held Oct. 11 at Beavercreek Golf Club.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.