This TB file photo shows Van Wert’s Tyler Turnwald lining up a putt in a match earlier this season. Turnwald led the Cougars with an 81 at the district tournament Thursday. (TB file photo)
BY BRIAN BASSETT
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
ARLINGTON - The Van Wert golf team was confident heading into Thursday's Division II District Tournament at Sycamore Springs in Arlington, coming off a sectional tournament win a week ago.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, they struggled at Sycamore Springs for the second time this season, posting a team score of 343, good for sixth in the nine-team field and six strokes back of the second qualifier, Bryan.
"I'm really excited that the kids put together a good season, (but we) would have liked to have them reach their final goal which was to make it to the state tournament," said Cougar coach Jeff Hood. "A lot of teams would trade to have the kind of season that we had, so we can't be negative. We'll be thankful that we played as well as we did."
The Cougars were led by senior Tyler Turnwald, who posted an 81 on the afternoon. Sophomore Brandon Hernandez followed with an 82, and senior Jacob Brake followed with an 84. Junior Adam Jurczyk and sophomore Justin Price each added a 96.
Wauseon won the district, shooting a 335. Bryan was second with a 337. Wauseon's Trevor Dominique shot a 74 to claim medalist honors.
The Cougars had beaten Wauseon and Bryan already this season, which added to the disappointment of the loss.
"We competed in two other tournaments with Wauseon this year, we beat them by 16 strokes in one tournament and lost by nine in the other... We played in (several) different tournaments with with Bryan, and beat them beat them three or four times and lost to them twice," explained Hood.
Unfortunately, the round of 343 on Thursday mirrored on at Sycamore Springs earlier in the season, even though the Cougars had to battle the elements and a wet course Thursday.
"Today was tough on everybody," Hood said. "In ideal conditions in August we shot a 339 (here), which is a very poor 18-hole round for us."
Thursdays district marks the last match as a Cougar for Turnwald and Brake, each of who are four-year lettermen.
"It's really difficult for me thinking about going into next year not being able to write those two names in our lineup. They've played a lot of varsity golf, shot a lot of great rounds. They've provided a great example to our younger guys in regard to their dedication and time commitment they've put in," added Hood.
The Cougars end a season which saw them finish 11-1 in regular season matches, and 9-0 in the league. They also won the Western Buckeye League and sectional tournaments.
"I'm proud of the team. We met a lot of our goals. We had the goal of being undefeated in the WBL in the regular season at 9-0, and we were able to get that done. We had a goal of winning the WBL tournament, which obviously those two goals would give us the WBL title. We did all of that," said Hood.