McDERMOTT — A falcon — by its very nature — is likely to soar high above the ground before swooping down upon its prey.
In Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference boys golf championships held at The Elks CC, Minford’s group of Falcon golfers soared low — and stayed there — shooting a team-score of 344, en route to capturing their program’s first SOC Division II championship since 1985.
This year’s SOC member schools competing as teams were split up into Divisions I and II — with Wheelersburg, South Webster, Eastern and Ironton St. Joe comprising Division I and Minford, West, Northwest and Waverly making up Division II.
The 44 golfers competing as both individuals and members of their school’s team were split into 12 groups of three, two groups of two, and one group of four with tee times staggered 10 minutes apart — beginning at 12 p.m. and ending at 2:20 p.m. from hole no. 1 at The Elks.
Each team’s score was comprised of their four lowest individual scores in Thursday’s 18-hole championship.
“It shows how hard my kids work on their game,” Minford coach Chuck Miller said of his team’s performance. “All of my core kids have memberships at some course in the area, so they are playing golf all year long. To win (the SOC), that shows them that all of that hard work pays off.”
Leading all golfers in the championship with a low-round of one-over (73) was Minford junior Dillon Osborne.
Osborne fired a one-over par 37 during the front nine, before outdoing himself in the back nine to shoot an even-par 36.
“Dillon has been playing at an extremely high level all year, so him shooting one-over was not surprising at all,” Miller said. “After struggling a little at last year’s league match, he promised that it would not happen again. He has quiet confidence, which I love. Being able to perform to that level on that stage says a lot about him.”
Minford’s Caleb Stockham shot a 13-over (85) round, a round good enough for fourth-place overall and third among the SOC Division II.
Matthew Koverman shot a 16-over (88) to finish as the Falcons’ third qualifying scorer, while Reece Lauder shot a 26-over (98) to help comprise Minford’s 344.
Portsmouth West finished in second-place as a team in the SOC Division II — with a team score of 376. ‘
Evan Whitt was the low Senator, shooting a 15-over (87) round which made for fifth-place overall and fourth among Division II golfers.
Eli Adkins also was sub-100, shooting 25-over (97) as West’s second-low scorer of the day.
Oak Hill competed among the Division II teams in Thursday’s championship, but did not post a team score due to having only two competitors in the match.
Oak Hill junior Kameron Maple shot a team-low eight-over (80), finishing in third-place as an individual and second among Division II.
Waverly senior Ben Flanders tied Whitt for fifth-place overall with a 15-over (87) round, finishing as the Tigers’ low golfer for the championship.
Waverly finished third in the Division II team scores with a combined 460 from its top four golfers.
Northwest finished in fourth-place among Division II teams with a score of 484.
The low Mohawk was D.J. Nelson, who shot a 34-over (106).
Osborne, Maple, Stockham, Whitt, Flanders and Koverman comprised the all-SOC Division II team, while Osborne was named Player of the Year and Miller Coach of the Year.
In SOC I, the Wheelersburg Pirates captured their own conference championship with a team score of 362.
Pirates senior Trevin Mault earned SOC Division I Player of the Year honors with a five-over (77) round, second-lowest for the championship only to Osborne’s one-over.
Mault’s 77 was also lower than the second-lowest score among Division I golfers by 15 strokes.
Cooper McKenzie, Levi Kidd, Brady Gill and Chris Hamilton helped contribute to the Pirates’ team score, which was 14 strokes lower than second-place South Webster’s 376.
McKenzie and Kidd each shot 22-over (94) for their rounds, while either Hamilton or Gill’s round would qualify in the Pirates’ top four — each shooting 25-over (97).
Cam Carpenter and Riley Burnett were the low Jeeps, who helped South Webster finish second as a team.
Both Jeeps shot a 20-over (92) for their rounds, followed by Gavin Baker’s 21-over (93).
Brady Blizzard also shot lower than the century mark, scoring 27-over (99) to round out the Jeeps’ team score.
Ironton St. Joe finished in third-place in the Division I standings with a score of 426, while Eastern finished fourth with a 437.
Carpenter, Burnett, Baker, McKenzie, Mault and Kidd were named to the all-SOC Division I team, while Wheelersburg coach Paul Boll was named Division I Coach of the Year.
The Southern Ohio Conference will be hosting its first girls golf championship in conference history at The Elks CC on Wednesday (Sept. 23) — prior to the start of sectional and district postseason tournaments for area boys and girls teams.
Dillon Osborne, Minford — 73
Trevin Mault, Wheelersburg — 77
Kameron Maple, Oak Hill — 80
Caleb Stockham, Minford — 85
Evan Whitt, West — 87
Ben Flanders, Waverly — 87
Matthew Koverman, Minford — 88
Cam Carpenter, South Webster — 92
Riley Burnett, South Webster — 92
Gavin Baker, South Webster — 93
Cooper McKenzie, Wheelersburg — 94
Levi Kidd, Wheelersburg — 94
Eli Adkins, West — 97
Brady Gill, Wheelersburg — 97
Chris Hamilton, Wheelersburg — 97
Reece Lauder, Minford — 98
Josh Hammonds, Green — 98
Jimmy Mahlmeister, Ironton St. Joe — 98
Brady Blizzard, South Webster — 99
Jacob Overly, Eastern — 99
Austin Bloomfield, Valley — 99
Sawyer Grashel, Minford — 101
Luke Howard, West — 101
Alex Cassidy, West — 105
DJ Nelson, Northwest — 106
JC Damron, Ironton St. Joe — 107
Garred Stiltner, Oak Hill — 107
Michael Mahlmeister, Ironton St. Joe — 110
Jaxon Collins, Eastern — 110
Zander King, Waverly — 110
Jacob Salisbury, Ironton St. Joe — 111
Cayden Haislop, Eastern — 114
Errol Hesson, Eastern — 114
Trenten Brown, Eastern — 116
Cody Glass, Waverly — 118
Matt Sheridan, Ironton St. Joe — 120
Trace Liston, Northwest — 121
Steven Sadler, West — 128
Orville Tackett, Northwest — 128
Deke Tackett, Northwest — 129
Jeremiah Cyrus, Valley — 133
Alex Cox, Northwest — 138
Rylee Coy, Western — 139
Owen Moorhead, Waverly — 145