Entering the Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament Championship on Wednesday, Sept. 22, Highland Boys golf coach Brent James knew the scores would be tight and every stroke would count.
Just before the tournament started at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River, he reminded his players.
Fortunately, the Bulldogs were called up from the start as they tied Mascoutah for the tag team championship, scoring 332 tag team.
Highland finished in second place because Greg Adams of Mascoutah – the Indians’ fifth-highest scorer – beat Highland’s Braden Schrof with a low score of 91 to 97 for Schrop. This allowed the Indians to win the team championship of the tournament.
Nonetheless, Highland’s performance on a blustery day at Belk Park pleased James.
“We were pretty happy with it,” said James. “It was windy so maybe the scores were slightly high. But for the conditions, I was very happy with the way it went and I knew (the tournament) was going to be super tight.
Although the Bulldogs did not win the tag team title, senior captain Bryce Knackstedt tied Sam Norrenberns of Mascoutah with a score of 76 on 18 holes, then beat Norrenberns on a playoff hole to claim medalist honors. .
“We’re not doing scorecard playoffs,” said James. “They went to the course and played it in front of everyone with everyone from the players watching – the two coaches plus the parents – so it was a really cool experience. Bryce hit a corner in the green about 10 feet and left it (like) a birdie putt on the lip (of the hole) and hit it for the par and it was good enough to win it.
Knackstedt has consistently shot well in every game and has been the anchor of the Bulldogs roster this fall.
“He was really strong for us last year, but his stroke average has improved a lot. He’s been a team manager in training, in games everywhere and he’s really given the team a boost, ”said James.
Highland’s individual scores have been strong throughout Knackstedt’s 76s, followed by Dominick Emig in eighth place with an 83, Mason Emig finishing 10th with an 86 and Easton Belford finishing 11th overall with a solid 87 round. , giving the Bulldogs four top 11 finishers.
Meanwhile, Belford, Mason Emig, Dominick Emig and Knackstedt all took top honors at all conferences for their solid performance.
“I knew they had it in them, but it’s always a question of ‘Are they going to come out and run?’ and they did. So we’re very happy with it, ”said James.
Schropf (97) and Tanner Gilliam (98) completed Highland’s score.
Next step for the boys at HHS
The MVC tournament closed the regular season for the Bulldogs, who will now compete in the IHSA Class 2A Regional Tournament in Taylorville on Wednesday, September 29 at Lakeshore Golf Course.
“I like the position we are in. Our numbers right now are not lower than they were at the start of the year, but I think we are in a position where we can do very well at the regional level, ”James said. .
“But, again, it’s golf, so it comes and goes; However, we don’t just rely on the same four scores in every tournament. So if someone comes out and isn’t playing their best, we’ve got someone else out there who can step up. “