WEST LAFAYETTE -The East Liverpool golf team emerged from the misty, wet conditions of River Greens Golf Course on Monday with its second straight Division II district championship.
The Potters shot a 313 to beat Columbus St. Francis DeSales by eight shots. Carroll Bloom Carroll finished third with a 324. The top three team finishers and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament Oct. 11-12 at NorthStar Resort in Sunbury.
The Potters finished sixth at the state tournment last year.
"With how successful we were last season, these guys had very high expectations coming into this year," East Liverpool coach Ben Wright said. "They embraced it and worked very hard during the summer to improve and put themselves back in this position. To get back to state while going undefeated is very special."
East Liverpool was led by the player who has anchored their team for most of his career, Blake Prince. The Cleveland State recruit was the medalist with a 1-under-par 71. He was the only player in the tournament to break par.
"Blake was simply outstanding today," Wright said. "I've seen him win many tournaments, but today might be the best round of his career. With how tough the course was playing and everything that was on the line, he stepped up and delivered."
Also for the Potters, Joey Cilone had a 77, Matt Hilditch 82, Isaac Davidson 83,and Ryian Burson 90.
Scores were up noticably from last weeks Division II sectional tournament at River Greens, which could be attributed to the tee boxes being moved back as well as the damp weather. According to Wright, Prince was able to navigate his way around the course by staying patient and picking his spots.
"Blake is one of the smartest golfers I've ever been around," Wright said. "He kept the ball in play, didn't try and do too much and just took what the course gave him. He's done it all year for us."
Teeing off in the last group, the Potters entered the back nine in fifth place, knowing they had work to do. Around that time the weather began to deteriorate, with a light mist filling the air. As scores from the other teams rose, East Liverpool remained steady. Prince in particular was at his best, firing a 2-under 34 n the back side, while Cilone shot a 1-over 37.
"By the 18th hole, I had a pretty good idea that we were in, but I didn't think he were winning by as much as eight," Wright said. "That our guys were able to hang tough like that when they were facing the potential end of their high school careers says a lot. I'm very proud of all of them."
Individual qualifiers were Heath's Derek Hamm (Heath), who finished one behind Prince with a 72; Columbus Bexley's Matt Abramson with a 74; and Cambridge's Skylar Roederer shot a 75.
Division II District Golf
River Greens Golf Course (Par 72)
1. East Liverpool313
2. Columbus DeSales 321
3. Carroll Bloom Carroll 324
4. Columbus Bexley 324
5. New Concord John Glenn 330
6. Columbus Bishop Watterson 331
7. Johnstown-Monroe 333
8. Caledonia River Valley 337
9. Gnadenhutten Indian Valley 343
10. Coshocton 345
11. Cambridge 345
12. Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley 357
Team State Qualfiers
Blake Prince 71 (overall medalist)
Joey Cilone 77
Matt Hilditch 82
Isaac Davidson 83
Ryian Burson 90
Columbus St. Francis DeSales
Danny Helin 76
Ben Dumm 77
Kyle Ransom 81
Chris Modie 87
Jacob Erwin 88
Carroll Bloom Carroll
Bryce Walters 79
Kale Roach 80
Jarred Kreutz 81
Aaron Carson 84
Noah Frase 85
Individual State Qualifiers
1. Derek Hamm (Heath) 72
2. Matt Abramson (Bexley) 74
3. Skyler Roederer (Cambridge) 75