There was a glimmer of silver in the eyes of the Lancaster varsity golf team this past Tuesday afternoon, as the varsity five were at one point in contention for the D3 state runner-up title.
Cuba City had all but wrapped up the division 3 state title at University Ridge, leaving Lancaster, Osseo/Fairchild and Kohler fighting for the second spot.
When all was said and done though, the Flying Arrows finished fourth of eight teams at this year’s D3 boys state championship, coming in behind second place Osseo/Fairchild and third place Kohler.
“They really fought hard today and did an excellent job of putting themselves in position to get second,” said Lancaster coach Andy Richard.
“The other teams started playing very well though. We played O.K. and the other teams played a little bit better,” Richard added.
At the end of Monday’s first round, the Flying Arrows were sitting tied for third place with Kohler, nine strokes behind Osseo/Fairchild and 24 behind Cuba City.
Leading the team in the first day of competition was sophomore Zach Hentrich, who shot an eight-over-par round of 80, shooting a 38 on the front and a 42 on the back.
Close behind him was junior John VanDeHey, who followed up a front-nine 41 with a 40 on the back, giving him an 18-hole score of 81.
Then it was freshman Andrew Gates, who followed up a 49 on the front with a 43 on the back, giving his team a 92 to use.
Fellow freshman Nathan Farrey shot a 47 on the front and a 46 on the back, leaving him with a 93.
Senior Logan Thole finished up the varsity five with a 53 on the front and a 42 on the back, giving him a 95 on the first day.
Coming into day two, the Arrows knew a second-place finish was within reach, but also knew it wouldn’t be easy.
Lancaster’s top finisher in the second day was Farrey, who after a 38 on the back, shot a 44 on the front for a team-low 82.
Hentrich shot the team’s second-best score of Tuesday’s round, coming in with a 44 on the back and a 41 on the front for an 85.
VanDeHey and Gates each shot 93’s on the day, VanDeHey a 44 on the back and 49 on the front, Gates a 47 on the back and a 46 on the front.
Rounding out Lancaster’s scores was Thole, who followed up a 50 on the back with a 48 on the front for a 98.
Following the two-day tournament, Hentrich finished with a 165, leaving him tied for 15th place among 52 division 3 golfers.
VanDeHey finished with a two-day total of 174 leaving him tied for 21st, while Farrey had a 175 and was tied for 23rd, Gates a 185 and finished 31st, and Thole a 193 and tied for 38th.
All-in-all, the Arrows can be proud of their fourth-place honors, as they improved on last year’s sixth-place finish.
And, with four members from this year’s team returning for coach Richard, the future looks bright.
“It was a great season for us. We expected to get back here. That was our ultimate goal, and that’s what we did,” said Richard.
“We have a very young team, so we’ll be wanting more next year that’s for sure.”
And leading the group again will undoubtedly be Hentrich, who now has two years of state competition under his belt and was the top golfer in the conference this season.
“You could definitely see that jump from his freshman to his sophomore year,” said Richard. “He ended up jumping his average by four strokes, which is just tremendous.”
* The Arrows earned their second straight trip to state after pulling out a second-place finish at the New Glarus Sectional a week earlier.
It was no secret that a total team effort would be needed at the division 3 New Glarus Sectional if the Flying Arrow golf team was to advance to state for the second year in a row.
And by the time action had concluded at the Edelweiss Chalet Country Club, Lancaster had done just enough to make a return trip to University Ridge.
While Cuba City had already been sitting in the clubhouse with a team score of 335, and Southwestern at 347, Lancaster knew they had to finish ahead of the Wildcats if they wanted to continue their season.
As it often does in high school golf, the tension and excitement grows stronger and stronger as golfers begin coming into the final hole.
As Lancaster’s No. 1 golfer, Hentrich was among the final grouping of the day, and whether he knew it or not, his team held a two-shot lead over the Wildcats coming into the 18th.
Anything under a double-bogie on the par-4 18th hole would send the Arrows back to state.
After knocking his second shot onto the fringe of the 18th green, Hentrich had three putts to seal the deal, but needed only two to finish with a par.
The sophomore sensation concluded an impressive round with an 18-hole score of 82, shooting a 40 on the front and a 42 on the back.
He finished with one birdie, 10 pars, four bogies, two doubles and one triple on the par-4 16th.
Rounding out the scoring for Lancaster was an 86 by Thole, an 88 by VanDeHey, and 89’s by Gates and Farrey.
Of the 72 golfers participating in the New Glarus Sectional, Hentrich finished tied for fourth, Thole tied for 14th, VanDeHey tied for the 19th and Gates and Farrey tied for 26th.
This year marks the seventh time Lancaster has sent a boys’ golf team to the WIAA State Meet, doing it in 1959, 1960, 1965, 1978, 1991, 2011 and now 2012.