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Catholic Central claims OVAC golf title

CELEBRATING — The Catholic Central golf team celebrates winning the Class 1A/2A championship on Tuesday at Oglebay’s Crispin Golf Course. It is the Crusaders’ first team title since 2011. (Photo by Cody Tomer)

WHEELING — There’s a new champion in town.

After five straight team championship victories by Wheeling Central, it was Catholic Central emerging from the field to capture its first OVAC 1A/2A title since 2011 and its 11th overall on Tuesday at Oglebay’s Crispin Golf Course.

Along with senior and defending champion Cole Tegano’s runner-up performance of 70, the Crusaders received an All-OVAC showing from Brendan Schaefer, who carded a 77 to finish third overall.

Vince Barcalow turned in an 84, Johnny O’Karma tallied an 87 and Jacquelyn Bensur added a 117 in the triumph.

“This is truly a testament to the kids,” CCHS coach Pete Lancia said. “They played well all day — all five of them. We put in a lot of work, and you can see the result. The reality is that we wanted this one really bad. Last year we fell six strokes short and it stung. This was a big one on the calendar.

“I would liked to have seen Cole win and get a medalist and a champion, but you can’t have everything. That’s life.”

Frontier finished second with a 326, behind an All-OVAC effort from Karter Satterfield, who finished fifth overall with an 80 and Toronto used an All-OVAC finish from Hunter Keenan, who turned in a 79, to grab third place in the team standings.

Last year’s defending champion Maroon Knights placed fourth with a 354.

Despite falling in the team competition, Wheeling Central’s Justin Doerr, only a sophomore, did not shy away from the moment.

In a playoff hole for the 1A/2A OVAC title and going head-to-head with Tegano, Doerr stepped right up and drained a four-foot birdie putt to earn his own OVAC medalist award.

Doerr and Tegano’s group finished long before the rest of the field, and with a large lead, the two elected to go-ahead with the playoff hole instead of waiting until the end.

“I just wanted to go,” Tegano said. “I was loose and I felt good with my tee shot on 1 because I could drive the green, but I hit it a little left of the green, and it was a bad spot to get up and down. I just couldn’t get it done.”

Doerr and Tegano each finished 18 holes tied at 70 after both shooting 35 on the front and back nines. The two went back-and-forth all day atop the leaderboard.

On the front nine, Doerr and Tegano each surged out to two-stroke leads only to see the other rally from behind.

An eagle on 12 gave another two-stroke lead to Doerr, but the veteran Tegano used back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 to pull even and force a thrilling playoff hole.

“It was a battle all day for sure,” Tegano said. “I was just trying to do what I did last year. It was kind of the same situation last year. I went eagle and birdie to win, but this year I was trying to hit 16, 17 and 18 and make eagles if possible. I almost had it but not quite.

“(Doerr) is a great player, and he made a bunch of putts. He probably made a 70-footer off the green on 7 and a 20-footer off the green on 2. He was just making putts all day.”

5A

Consistency is the name of the game for any golfer. It’s especially true when golf becomes a team sport.

Beaver Local has demonstrated time and time again so far this season that it has mastered that trait.

And, it was on full display again Tuesday at the challenging Jones Course at Oglebay Park’s Speidel Golf Club during the annual OVAC Class 4A Championship.

The Beavers had nary a player shoot higher than a 90 and produced the overall class champion in junior Luke Eyster, as they claimed the school’s first conference title in golf with a solid 344 score.

Beaver’s total was 10 shots better than runner-up Cambridge and 14 strokes fewer than St. Clairsville.

Eyster set the pace for the Beavers. Playing in the No. 1 player spot in a group that included Cambridge’s A.J. Wilkin, St. Clairsville’s Will Foster and Harrison senior Sam Santille, Eyster caught fire in a three-hole stretch on the backside of the course. He birdied 13, 14 and 15, but opened the door for the others in the group with a double on the 16th.

“Winning the OVAC was one of my goals ever since I started high school because I realize how prestigious it is to win this,” Eyster said. “I played well and got it done.”

Eyster righted the ship for a par on 17 and then overcame a tough pin placement and speed greens on the 18th to clinch the title with a round of 78, which was a shot clear of both Foster and Wilkin.

The title is the first for Eyster. He was the runner-up to Martins Ferry’s Luke Krol in 2019.

After Eyster’s score, Beaver’s second counted score was the 86 produced by Logan Ours. Sky Pappas, Landen Cameron and Aiden Palarcik all posted a 90.

The aforementioned Wilkin and Foster finished second and third, respectively, with a 79. Wilkin posted a par on the first playoff hole and Foster’s putt that would have extended the playoff to a second hole just rolled around the hole.

Joining Eyster, Wilkin and Foster on the All-OVAC team were East Liverpool’s Nathan Kelly (82) and St. Clairsville’s Saul Crist (84).

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