Bearcats edge Raiders to capture conference, Chadron golf titles
     2014-05-08      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
CHADRON – After finishing second in its home invitational on Thursday, the Scottsbluff boys’ golf team returned to its winning ways Monday by taking the team titles in the combined Western Conference Championships and Chadron Invitational at Ridgeview Country Club.

The Bearcats had to hold off second-place Sidney for the titles in a tight team battle. Scottsbluff finished with a four-man score of 334, with the Red Raiders second at 338.

Alliance finished in in third at 345, while Gering was fourth with a 353. Chadron took fifth at 356, while Mitchell placed sixth with a 361.

Three Scottsbluff golfers placed in the top 10. Junior Koy Potthoff led the Bearcats with a first-place score of 76. Sophomore Jonah Wright took fourth place with an 83, and junior Jared Pilkington earned seventh place with an 83.

“I thought everybody did fine,” Scottsbluff coach Mike Klein said. “There’s something about that golf course, it’s hard to shoot a good score. With only one kid breaking 80 in the field, I don’t know what it is. Koy shot 1-under on the back nine after a 41 on the front.”

The Bearcats were without senior Curtis Welsh, who is attending the national DECA conference.

Sidney’s runner-up team finish was bolstered by the second-place showing of Brady Radcliff, who fired an 81. Also for the Red Raiders, Ryan Birner earned fifth place with an 83.

Austin Kaufman led Gering in ninth with an 85.

When the scores of Hay Springs (399) and Hemingford (422) were added for the Chadron Invitational results, Kaufman finished in 10th for Gering.

The Gering Invitational scheduled for Thursday was moved to Friday after forecasts earlier in the week predicted inclement weather for Wednesday and Thursday. Tee times are still set for 9 a.m.

The Bearcats will also be in action Friday, competing in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament at Kearney.

Bearcats 2nd at delayed home meet

Scottsbluff was coming off a second-place team finish to Casper, Wyo.’s Kelly Walsh in the Bearcats’ invitational meet Thursday at Scotts Bluff Country Club.

The meet was postponed three days after wind and predictions for rain prevented play on April 28. The three-day delay cost the tournament at least three teams because of other scheduling commitments.

After scoring a 300 to win the Alliance Invitational on April 26, the Bearcats were limited in practice time by several more days of heavy winds, which Klein said left Scottsbluff with some rust in their games.

“We got off to a bad start, and that kind of gets you,” Klein said. “We played better on the back nine and got better as we went, but still we got in too big a hole.”

Scottsbluff finished as runner-up with a 337. Kelly Walsh edged Scottsbluff by six shots to win the team title with a 331. Laramie, Wyo., followed in third with a 352.

“Kelly Walsh has two pretty decent players, but it depended on their bottom three,” Klein said. And the Trojans were led by the 1-2 finishers in Corban Hill at 75 and Drew Petrie with a 77.

Welsh paced Scottsbluff individually with a third-place finish with a 77 and loss on the tie-break. Two other Bearcats joined Welsh in medalist contention. Potthoff finished fourth with an 81 and Wright was seventh with an 84.

Also for Scottsbluff, Pilkington ended with a 95 and junior Sean Mercer-Smith shot a 104.

Gering finished in sixth at 376, led by Kraiger Ebbers’ 91.

Mitchell wins Division II team title

Mitchell won Division II with a four-player count of 384. Kimball finished second with a 407.

Kimball senior Henry Heeg won the individual title in Division II. He fired an 85 to win by four shots over Mitchell senior Peyton Briggs, who finished runner-up with an 89.

Briggs’ second-place finish powered Mitchell to its team title. Also medaling in the top 10 for the Tigers was senior Luis Panduro, who finished fifth with a 90. Also for Mitchell, senior Bo McVay had a 102, freshman Seth Marcoe ended with a 103 and senior Tristan Robles had a 104.

“We like to see ourselves as a senior-heavy class playing against the D-I competition,” Mitchell coach Brock Ehler said. “It’s more about playing with adversity and accepting what Mother Nature and the good and bad luck golf have to offer you.

“We won Division II, but our ultimate goal with this team was to compete strongly against Division I. Some of the bigger schools like Sidney and Gering were just ahead of us. The kids aren’t really excited, but they know that they can compete better.”

Junior varsity golfers claimed other medalist spots. Gering’s Mark Montague finished fourth with an 89, Alliance’s Cole Randell was sixth with a 94, Gering’s Chandler Uhrich was seventh with a 95 and Scottsbluff’s Craig Smith ended eighth with a 96.

Bayard wins MAC title

Led by exchange student Roman Konvicka’s first-place score of 77, Bayard blew away the competition Thursday in the Minuteman Activities Conference Tournament at Kimball.

The Tigers finished with a team count of 331, 61 strokes ahead of runner-up Creek Valley. Garden County was third at 440.

Konvicka led all five Tigers with top-10 finishes. Junior Joe Hernandez was second with an 82, while senior Trae Blanco took fourth at 83. Senior David Schuler was fifth at 89 and freshman Manny Acosta tied for 10th with a 100. Also, Ethan Marker of the Bayard JV was sixth at 96.

Scores for the Western Trails Conference meet, which was Saturday in Gordon, were not reported as requested. The Panhandle Conference meet at Morrill took place Tuesday, as did the Creek Valley Invitational in Chappell.

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