Boys golf: Chesterton pulls off surprise win at Valparaiso Sectional
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org June 1, 2012 11:48PM
Chesterton's Jay Crots watches his tee shot on the 18th hole at the Valparaiso sectional Friday June 1, 2012.Crots finished with a 77. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 6, 2012 11:14AM
VALPARAISO — There are few team sports as fickle and unpredictable as high school golf. Just ask Chesterton.
The Trojans came into the Valparaiso Sectional with a losing record in conference play. Sure, they were competitive in matches but they didn’t have the results to show for it.
They seemed to solidify their ambivalent regular-season showing with a disappointing seventh-place finish Wednesday at the Duneland Athletic Conference Tournament, shooting a 339 on their home course. Only Merrillville was worse.
It wasn’t a proud or happy moment for a team that expected more, and Chesterton coach Kent Butler let the Trojans know about it, asking them all to look at the scoreboard after the round finished and consider whether that was really good enough for them.
“It was embarrassing,” Butler said.
Well, something magical happened for Chesterton in the last two days and that, as they say, is the beauty of golf.
The Trojans pulled off a stunning upset at Forest Park in the Vikings’ sectional, shooting a 305 to win the title. Valparaiso was second with a 309 and Portage was the last team to qualify with a 324.
The win was a shocker even for the players, who didn’t quite know that they had actually beaten down the cold, windy, wet weather and the Vikings machine on its own course.
Austin Johnson, a senior, who gets to live to play another week, summed up the mood before play started best by saying: “We were just shooting to get out. We had aspirations to be first but we didn’t think they were legitimate. We were a long shot to win.”
Johnson may not be much of a dreamer but he delivered when it counted most, shooting a 76. Only sophomore Zach Von Huben was better for Chesterton, shooting the best competitive 18-hole round of his career with a 75.
The Trojans won with four scores between 75 and 77. Brandon Martin and Jay Crots each shot 77.
They also were successful because they refused to wilt in the unusual conditions. For most of the spring, teams from Northwest Indiana have avoided the combination of rain and extreme wind.
That wasn’t the case at Forest Park, where Bobby Jacobs of Valparaiso had the best score of the day with a 74.
Butler appeared to be almost driven to tears by what had happened. He was sure his team was capable of putting four scores in the 70’s on the board.
He wasn’t sure he’d get it — all at once — in sectionals.
“I never expected to shoot that kind of score,” he said.
A week ago, the Vikings likely expected to shoot better than 309.
But their best player, Kyle Meihofer, is fighting mononucleosis. Meihofer, easily the strongest player in Northwest Indiana over the course of the season, struggled with a 79. He also struggled at the DAC, shooting a 78.
Jacobs was solid, shooting even par on the front side and then finishing four-over on the back side.
Jacobs made three birdies on the front but he struggled with his putter on the back nine, three putting three greens.