Bearcats 5th at Greater Nebraska
     2016-05-13      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen Gering freshman Brandyn Larsen putts on the 18th hole Friday in the Bulldogs’ invite at Monument Shadows Golf Course. He was in Group 4, with Scottsbluff sophomore Vince Quijas looking on. 
A day after topping the field at the Western Conference golf tournament, the Scottsbluff boys’ team headed to the challenging Heritage Hills Golf Course in McCook for the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Bearcats took fifth place.

The Bearcats played the course at the McCook Invitational in April, carding a team score of 368. On May 6, they improved by 20 strokes, shaving their points total to 348.

“McCook is tough to beat on their home course,” said Scottsbluff Coach Mike Klein. “Our only goal was to do better than last time. None of the guys broke a hundred, so I think they’re more comfortable with the course.”

The home McCook team took the title with a team score of 315. Kearney was in second at 321, followed by Norfolk in third with 325, and North Platte in fourth at 326.

Scottsbluff senior Jared Pilkington has been in the top four in every tournament he’s played. He extended that streak at the Greater Nebraska competition, firing a round of 78 to finish in fourth place. Jonah Wright, who won the Western Conference title the day before, finished 16th, with a round of 84. Teammates Sam McCaslin was 23rd, with 89, Craig Smith in 31st carding a 97, and Vince Quijas finished 32nd at 98.

“Jared has been our most consistent player,” Klein said “He hasn’t shot the low scores that Jonah has, but he continues to play well.”

Klein said the team is fine at this point in the season. After the Ogallala Invitational on May 12, the Class B District 4 Tournament is in a familiar location – McCook.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. Now that we know the McCook course better, the guys are getting around it while avoiding the high numbers.”

He added the team’s ultimate goal is the get back to the state tournament. With McCook as strong as they are on their home course, that leaves the next two lowest scoring teams with bids to state.

On May 5, Scottsbluff crossed the North Platte River to Gering to take the Western Conference tourney at Monument Shadows Golf Course. The Bearcats Wright shot a 69, his personal best. The team’s score, a 316, was its lowest for the season.

Sidney finished second with 339. Gering placed third with 353, followed by Chadron at 388, and Alliance with 399.

Wright was the top individual finisher and teammate Jared Pilkington was close behind as the runner-up with a round of 75. The rest of the team had Sam McCaslin carding an 85 for his best score of the season, medaling in seventh place. Vince Quijas finished at 87, and Craig Smith shot a round of 90.

“Friday was a nice day for us,” Klein said. “The guys turned in a couple of low scores that really helped us.”

Gering’s Grant Maser also took home some hardware, carding a round of 78 for third place. Teammate Brandyn Larsen came in with a round of 91, while Grady Sherrell and Josh Wilson were both right behind him, scoring a 92. Mason Marsh was another stroke back at 93.

“We didn’t play as well as we wanted, especially at our home tournament,” said Gering Coach Keaton Green. “Some of the varsity guys struggled a bit, but the JV team looked really good.”

Green said the team is spending the week on the course to get back on track before they head east to wrap up the regular season at the Ogallala Invitational on May 12. The district tournament is scheduled for Monday, May 15, in McCook.

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