Beaver’s Eyster finishes second at OVAC
WHEELING, W.Va. — As the players and scorecards trickled into the clubhouse, Harrison Central golf coach Todd Dunlap was tasked with posting the scores on the large scoreboards.
With each passing score, Dunlap — a 15-year veteran of the coaching ranks — started to believe more and more that it was his team’s time to finally get over the hump in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 4A tournament held Oglebay Park’s challenging Jones Course at Speidel Golf Club Tuesday.
And once the final scores were posted, the wait was over. The Harrison Central Huskies — for the first time in the school’s history — are OVAC Champions in golf.
“It’s pretty cool (to win one of these),” Dunlap said. “We had a few teams in the past that I thought had a chance, but this year, I thought we had a really good chance if we played well.”
The Huskies got an advanced look at the Jones course last week in a quadrangular match and — quite simply — didn’t play well. It left a cause for concern for Dunlap.
“It was ugly last week, but I thought we’d play better (at the OVAC),” Dunlap admitted. “All of our guys shot their highest scores of the season that day, but (Tuesday) we were much more consistent with what we had been shooting.”
The Huskies finished with a team score of 349, which was 15 shots clear of Cambridge and 20 shots ahead of Beaver Local. The Huskies were the only team in the field who didn’t have a player sign for a score in triple digits.
“This is a credit to the kids because they’ve been part of this program since the seventh grade and really stuck it out,” Dunlap said. “The kids have consistently gotten better and better. They had a chance to really compete well here and took advantage of it.”
The Huskies were led by senior Cruz Capers, who posted an 83, which was good enough to tie for third and earn a spot on the All-OVAC squad. Sam Santille was next in line for Harrison with an 84. Jacob Hudson was third with an 87 and Nick Coffland’s 95 rounded out the scoring.
“I had a decent idea of who the two teams were that we’d have to beat and they played consistent,” Dunlap said. “Cambridge and Beaver both played well. Our consistency through the three, four and five spots has been the biggest thing for us all year.”
While the Huskies were celebrating their first team crown, Martins Ferry’s Luke Krol was also putting some ghosts of OVAC past behind him, too.
In last year’s OVAC tournament, the then Purple Rider sophomore signed for a score in triple figures. He proved that was simply an off day. Kroll battled the heat as temperatures soared into the low 90s, the wind, which was gusty at times and the overall challenge that is Jones for a solid round of 79 to win the OVAC individual title.
“(Winning this tournament) means everything to me … it’s what I’ve been working toward my entire high school career,” Krol said. “I just have to continue to keep looking at the next tournament or event on the schedule and continue to try to get better.”
Krol had his fair share of ups and downs on the course. However, he remained steady in his approach. He also drove the ball well and hit several greens in regulation, giving him opportunities to score well.
Krol and Beaver Local’s Luke Eyster, who were not playing in the same group, both posted a 40 on the front side of the course. Krol turned it on during the second nine, posting a 39, which was the low score on that side of the course by two shots.
“I feel like that back 9 is the hardest nine, so I knew I had to play it safe and smart,” Krol said. “I just tried to keep calm. I had some rough holes and there are times when you think you might be out of it, but I just kept telling myself there’s still a lot of golf to play and you never know what can happen with the next hole or shot.”
Eyster finished second overall and earned a spot on the All-OVAC squad with a round of 82. He and Krol were joined on all-conference unit by St. Clairsville’s Will Foster, Edison’s George Ash and Capers, all of whom posted 83s to tie for third.
OVAC Golf Championship
at Oglebay Park’s Jones Course
1. Harrison Central (349): Cruz Capers 83, Sam Santille 84, Jacob Hudson 87, Nick Coffland 95.
2. Cambridge (364): Dominic Cork 85, A.J. Wilkin 87, Adam Smith 89, Braxton Wheeler 103.
3. Beaver Local (369): Luke Eyster 82, Sky Pappas 85, Cruz Ward 95, Logan Ours 107.
4. St. Clairsville (370): Will Foster 83, Saul Crist 91, Aiden Moran 89, Joey Patrizi, 107.
5. East Liverpool (399): Cameron Beverly 92, Brennan O’Hara, 99, Nate Kelly 100,; Paxton Grimes 108.
6. Meadowbrook (400): Cole Eltringham 94, Tyler Ingram 98, Alex Dennis 99; Trent McManes 109.
7. Edison (410): George Ash 93, Andrew Pugh 95, Sage Christianson 108, Pam Johnson 124.
8. Martins Ferry (423): Luke Krol 79, Chucky Schau 99, Rocky Schau 107, Cole Olinski 128.
9. Buckeye Local (428): Bryan Blazeski 99, Sean Kubic 107, Aiden Polanski 110, Dalton Watt 112.
10. Oak Glen (494): Jacob Gittings 95, Caleb Cline 106, Brody Chaney 144, Garrett Wright 149.
Individual Top 5 (All-OVAC)
1. Luke Krol (Martins Ferry) 79; 2. Luke Eyster (Beaver) 82; 3. Will Foster (St. Clairsville) 83; 3. George Ash (Edison) 83; 3. Cruz Capers (Harrison) 83.