Fighting Tiger golfers look to continue tradition

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

When you've been to the state tournament as many times as the Ironton Fighting Tigers golf team, a lot of family members get involved.

The Fighting Tigers will play in their eighth Division II state tournament Friday at Saturday at Foxfire Golf Club near Columbus in Lockbourne.

Ironton's trip to the state tournament is the first under head coach Jeff Kerns. It also marks the first time a father and son have played in the state tournament. Jeff Kerns played in the state tournament in 1986-87 and son Nathan, a freshman, is a member of this year's team.

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The Ironton team is comprised of seniors Dennis Gagai, Jay Rudmann and Gavin Harbolt, junior Seth Christian and Nathan Kerns.

Jay Rudmann's cousin Adam Rudmann was on the 2000 team that finished 8th. Also on the 2000 team was Zach Christian, brother of Seth Christian while another brother, Todd, was a member of the Ironton teams that won three state titles and a runner-up from 1995-98.

Bill Washburn coached Ironton to the state titles and runner-up and son Brad was a member of those teams.

&#8221We've had quite a tradition in golf and I think this group understands that,“ coach Kerns said. &#8221Our goal from day one was to qualify for the state tournament. Now that we've achieved that goal, we want to play as well as we possibly can.“

A total of 12 teams will play in the two-day tournament. Joining Ironton in the field are Granville, Columbus Bishop Ready, Hunting Valley, Burton Berkshire, Canton Catholic, Youngstown Ursuline, Lima Bath, Milan Edison, Piketon, Cincinnati Wyoming and Middletown Bishop Fenwick.

Ironton will play in a group with Youngstown Ursuline and Canton Catholic. Jay Rudmann will tee off at 8:30 a.m., Gavin Harbolt at 8:38, Nathan Kerns 8:46, Dennis Gagai 8:54 and Seth Christian 9:02.

With Ohio State University's golf courses under renovation, the state tournament is being played at Foxfire for the first time. The Division III tournament is being played on the Players course.

The Foxfire Golf Club is a 6,891-yard Par 72 course.

&#8221We really aren't familiar with the course. Hopefully we'll adjust quickly,“ coach Kerns said.