The Lima Central Catholic boys golf team is competing in the Division III state golf tournament Friday and Saturday and Thunderbird head coach David Schmiedebusch said he feels his team is peaking at the right time.
The Thunderbirds tee off at NorthSTar Golf Club at 9 a.m. Friday.
With a veteran squad, four seniors and one freshman, the Thunderbirds started the season fast, winning four of their first four events. However, a corona outbreak and quarantine situation at the school put a two-week pause on the season, before resuming action and since then the team gotten its stroke back.
“We had a really good season,” Schmiedebusch said. “We won four out of our first five invitational so we got off to a really good start and then the quarantine interrupted us for a couple of week so that set us back and we had to get the training moving again and gradually got the rust off and I think we are peaking at the right time.
At sectionals, the Thunderbirds posted a second place finish with a score of 348, two strokes behind Delphos St. John’s. LCC then followed it up with a second place performance at districts with a team score of 338, five strokes behind Pettisville.
This marks the first time the boys are returning to state in six years.
Schmiedebusch said he knew this team had a lot of potential coming into the season after making districts last season but injuries plagued the Thunderbirds from advancing to state,
Led by seniors Alex Wisser, Ross Otto, Casey Koenig and Brady Koenig, the addition of freshman Parker Judy has given them a solid foundation. Judy was the low scorer at sectionals and districts and it was the consistent play of the seniors that has been instrumental in the team’s journey to state.
Schmiedebusch said the addition of Judy really solidified the squad and added another consistent scorer to the senior-laden team.
“That raised the level of our play and our expectations,” Schmiedebusch added.
Because of that the goal this year was to get to the next level and that is exactly what happened but it also occurred because of good team chemistry.
“They know each other and they all get along so I look for good leadership out of this group and I think in past years leadership has been a little lacking in my opinion,” Schmiedebusch said. “I wasn’t exactly on the top of the whole situation and I was looking at it from a far but I think because of this groups’ connectivity I think they are a good group to be around.”
Schmiedebusch added that this group can kid each other and raze each other but when it is time to get serious and focus, they buckle down.
“When it is time to put your head to the grindstone and focus they have shown they can do that. I think that is what got us going in the second part of the season was the ability to really focus and bounce back when things start to get tough because nobody plays a perfect round,” Schiemedebusch said. “You are going to have your ups and downs and I think for the most part most of the guys have managed that at some point because no round is perfect.”
Even though this team features four seniors, none of the golfers have been to state and that is something Schmiedebusch said the team will prepare for as they face off with the best talent in the state over a two-day period.
“Things get a little more from a detailed standpoint and other things to worry about but we have got good support from the school and good support from the parents and that makes a whole lot of difference,” Schmiedebusch said.
Schmiedebusch added that the competition is going to be tough and eyeing the scores he knows that the Thunderbirds have their work cut out if they are going to battle for a top spot.
“At looking at some of the team scores there are a few teams that have a really good players that they hope they can get in with a respectable score for the team and then there are teams that are a whole pack that are within six or seven shots of each other which makes it a solid team which means if one guy is off the other guys can pick them up.
“We have high potential with good scores but overall four or five kids on any day can throw a good score on us typically my top three guys have been really consistent…but I think we are going in the right direction and stay focus I think we are going in the right direction.”
Miller also competing
Allen East’s Zach Miller will also be competing at the Division III state golf tournament Friday.
The Mustang junior finished tied for second at districts with a score of 76.