Chesapeake golfers earn first-ever trip to state

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2003

CIRCLEVILLE - The Panthers golf team is going where no Chesapeake team has gone before.

No, the Panthers aren't headed for outer space, but they are on Cloud 9 after winning the Division III district tournament Tuesday to earn the team's first-ever state tournament appearance.

In fact, the golfers are the first Chesapeake team sport to ever qualify for a state tournament.

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"We're pretty proud of this team," Panthers coach Dave Houck said. "We had three goals at the beginning of the year: to win the (Ohio Valley Conference), the sectional and the district. We met all three goals. Going to the state was something we were hoping for. Now, we just want to go up there and enjoy it."

The Panthers will play in the state tournament Friday and Saturday, Oct. 10-11, on the Scarlet Course at The Ohio State University.

Chesapeake had a 358 team score, followed by Portsmouth Notre Dame with 369, Southeastern 370, Portsmouth Clay 376, Leesburg Fairfield 384, Glouster Trimble 385, Lucasville Valley 395 and Zane Trace 403.

Trent Finley not only led the Panthers with an 80, but he also was the tournament's medalist by two strokes. Phillip Butcher shot an 86, P.J. Rase 93, Chris Hansford 99 and Tyler Angle 100.

"I felt if we played up to our potential, we should win. But it was cool and windy and the scores were sky high. This was the highest our scores have been all year," Houck said.

Phillips of Lucasville Valley and Prater of Southeastern qualified for the state tournament as individuals.

Chesapeake was third last year in the district and second the previous season. Houck knew his team was favored coming into the district match, but he had a guarded optimism since the top two teams from each sectional were matched first, followed by the three and four teams.

"We were the best team from our sectional and we had the best score coming in compared to the other sectional," Houck said.

"We were ahead after the first two sections were played and I felt pretty good, but we had to wait about an hour for the next two sections to come in. When we saw the scores come in and they were high, it kind of hit us that we were going to the state. Needless to say, we were pretty happy."

Houck said the players are looking forward to their state tournament trip.

"We want to have fun and enjoy it. This is something they'll never forget," Houck said.