It was an exciting accomplishment for Fort Loramie boys golfers Caeleb Meyer and Devin Ratermann when they helped the program earn its first state berth two years ago.
The two seniors have helped make state berths an expectation for the Redskins.
Meyer, Ratermann and fellow senior Carson Barhorst along with sophomores Adam Ballas and Aiden Wehrman will lead Fort Loramie to its third consecutive appearance in the Division III state tournament on Friday and Saturday at NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury.
“It would have been a disappointment for us had we not qualified for the state tournament this year,” Fort Loramie coach Brad Turner said. “Having been there a couple of years already, the seniors really had it set in their minds that this was something that was going to happen.
“We’ve done a few things that gear our mindset to compete at the state tournament, and having gone through the process of making it last year with most of these same guys playing, it was within our expectation and goals to make it back.”
Minster will join Fort Loramie in the D-III tournament this weekend, as will Anna junior Bryce Cobb, who earned an individual berth by finishing second in the D-III district at Beavercreek last week with a 77.
Anna coach Brandon Cobb, who is Bryce Cobb’s father, said his son has been aiming for a state berth and has improving his striking this year to compliment solid putting skills.
“He has put in two years of hard work on his game for this purpose, so he wants to play well and he knows he can on this course,” Cobb said. “He also played a Golfweek event at Northstar over the summer so he knows the course and is comfortable with the layout. It’s awesome to have another week of purposeful golf so we are both very excited to get over there.”
Fort Loramie won the Beavercreek district title for the second consecutive year. Minster finished third in the Bowling Green D-III district to earn a state berth.
Golfers will play one 18-hole round on both Friday and Saturday. Scores from both rounds are combined to determine finishes.
Ratermann shot a 203 and Meyer shot a 191 as sophomores in 2018 when the Redskins finished 12th out of 12 teams.
Meyer shot a 185 last year and Ratermann shot 196 last year. Their improved scores helped Fort Loramie improve its finish to ninth place.
Turner said the expectations are higher this year with the previous experience the team has.
“Given the fact that we do have more experience and a little more firepower than last year, I believe we will significantly improve upon our finish,” Turner said.
“There are some very good teams that will be there, including last year’s champion Berlin Hiland. I don’t know about our ability to hang with a team like that, but if we play within ourselves and maybe have a couple of guys put together a day, I think we could make a significant jump into the top half of the standings when it’s all said and done and leave the course very pleased and proud of what we did this season.”
Ballas has been named the Shelby County Athletic League player of the year the last two years and has been the Redskins’ most consistent golfer this year. He shot an 18-over 162 in last year’s state tournament and tied for 17th overall.
But it was Wehrman, who will be making his first state appearance, that led the squad last Thursday in Beavercreek. He shot a 79, which was four strokes better than he shot in the D-III sectional tournament at Shelby Oaks Golf Club the previous week.
“Aiden got off to a very good start at the district tournament,” Turner said. “He threw a dart for a tap-in birdie on hole No. 4 that I saw to put him at even through four holes and then settled in for an even par 36 through the turn,” Turner said. “It was the round of his young life. He had a couple of stumbles on the back nine, but he really came through for us on that day by simply playing to his ability.”
Bryce Cobb shot a 37 on the first nine holes on Saturday and finished with a 40 on the last nine.
“In my mind I thought 75 or below would be safe, so through 12 holes I felt pretty comfortable,” Brandon Cobb said. “Bryce really only made three bad swings all day and two of them were on 13, 14 to get into trouble. I was pretty anxious over those last four holes, but he rebounded well to play those in one under. Overall he hit it very well, just a couple of mistakes.”
It will be the second consecutive year multiple SCAL golfers are participating in the state tournament. Botkins also earned a state berth last year aside from Fort Loramie.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.