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WL-Salem’s Sims headed to state

WL-Salem sophomore shines at district tourney; Raiders finish two spots from advancing 

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ABOVE: Benjamin Logan’s Blaine Ricketts competes in the Divison II district tournament Thursday at Weatherwax Golf Course in Middletown. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: West Liberty-Salem’s Nick Sims watches his tee shot on the first hole during the Division III district tournament Thursday at Weatherwax Golf Course in Middletown. Sims earned one of the two qualifying berths for the state tourney. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

MIDDLETOWN — West Liberty-Salem’s Nick Sims had to play four extra holes of golf, but he made the most of it here Thursday.

Sims earned one of two individual qualifying spots for the state tournament by prevailing in the fourth hole of a playoff in the Division III boys district tournament at Weatherwax Golf Course.

The talented sophomore tied for the low round of the tournament with a 75. There was a three-way tie for the two individual state berths. Sims battled through four playoff holes to eventually earn the final qualifying spot.

“Nick birdied the final hole of the day to get into the playoff,” said WL-Salem head coach Darrin Leichty. “Then he hit three brilliant wedge shots to save par in the playoff.”

Sims will compete in the Division III state tourney next Friday and Saturday at North Star Golf Resort in Sunbury.

The Tigers had a good day as a team, as well. They finished fourth overall with a 345.

Cincinnati Country Day won the tournament with a 327, while Seven Hills grabbed the second team state berth with a 330.

Russia finished third in the 12-team field with a 340.

“I am proud of the guys for bouncing back from a rough round at sectionals a week ago,” said Leichty. “As a team we were in the mix for most of the round. Our lone senior, Matthew Kauffman, is going to be missed next year. His calm presence and steady play will be missed.”

Jacob Rutan carded a solid round of 81 and Ethan McBean also was in the 80s for the Tigers with an 87. Casey Gay shot 102 and Kauffman had a 143.

Riverside’s Tanner Lane also participated in the Division III district tournament Thursday and finished with a 106.

Raiders take fourth in Division II

Benjamin Logan’s boys golf team fell short in its bid to get to state, but the Raiders turned in a very respectable effort in the Division II district tourney at Weatherwax.

The Raiders took fourth as a team with a 337. The top two teams and the lowest two scorers not on a qualifying team earned spots in the state tournament.

Oakwood won the Division II district title with a 311. Kettering Alter was second with a 326 and Wyoming was third with a 333. Springfield Shawnee finished fifth with a 340 and Kenton Ridge was 11th with 354.

The two individual state qualifiers were Cameron Willis of Eaton with a 75 and Mariemont’s Will Grimmer with a 77.

“Our guys were disappointed, but at the end of the day we had the low score of any Central Buckeye Conference team there and we were eight shots better than we were when we played in the Hadley tournament at Weatherwax earlier this season,” said Ben Logan assistant coach Nick Sieg. “Me and (head coach Shawn Bechtel) are proud of the boys. They did what we asked of them. We just fell a little short.”

Senior Blaine Ricketts rounded out his impressive prep career with a 79. That tied for the eight-best individual score of the day.

Freshman Grant Ricketts carded an 83 and senior Jordan Sosby also had an 83 for the Raiders. Senior Cole Saylor followed with a 92 and senior Ed Kenoyer had a 99.

“I really feel for our seniors,” said Sieg. “They have put in a ton of work and effort into the program. They have been great leaders for us. Those guys really want Ben Logan golf to be at an elite level.”

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