The turning point for the Greenon High School boys golf team’s season came back in June.
That’s when coach Steve Norris took a month of vacation. He hoped his team didn’t do the same.
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Before Norris left to visit his daughter in Seattle for a month, he challenged his Knights to work hard. Play 18 holes of golf. Walk and don’t rent carts. Set expectations.
“If you want to be better you have to put the time and effort in. I’ll see you in July and see how much you’ve improved,” Norris told his team.
“Those kids, you could tell. They put the time and effort into it. I told the guys, ‘I’m a big believer in the golf gods. Golf gods will take care of people that work hard.’ My expectations were to get through it and see if they got better. They did.”
Greenon, which graduated six seniors after last season, exceeded expectations by winning the Clark County tournament for the first time in school history. The Knights won the Ohio Heritage Conference championship in their first season. And on Sept. 26 the Knights won the Division II sectional at Reid Park.
Sophomore Dylan Schetter fired a career-best 79 to lead the Knights to a 342, eight strokes better than runner-up Graham. Seniors Beau Blase (84) and Zach Knauer (89), sophomore Ian Anderson (90) and junior Michael Mitchem (96) combined to qualify Greenon to D-II district tournament Thursday at Beavercreek Golf Club.
The top three teams and top three individuals (not on qualifying teams) advance to next week’s state championship. Alter, Oakwood, Cincinnati McNicholas and Cincinnati Summit Country Day are among the teams Greenon has to contend with. Greenon has never qualified for state as a team.
“This has been the most rewarding and demanding year of my teaching and coaching career. I’m glad I could be there for the kids,” said Norris, who plans to teach and coach one more season before retiring.
“Whatever happens at the district tournament is gravy. What we’ve done this year is remarkable considering the circumstances we’ve dealt with. This team has exceeded our expectations. For us to do what we’ve done is special for the end of my career. For us to be where we are now, I’m proud of the kids. … I want them to go out and enjoy the moment.”
Graham, Northwestern and Shawnee also qualified for the D-II district tournament at Beavercreek GC. Shawnee senior and sectional tournament medalist Grant Engle, Greeneview freshman Mason Witt and Urbana junior William McDavid qualified as individuals.
The D-III boys district tournament tees off Wednesday at Glenview Golf Course near Cincinnati. Catholic Central, Northeastern, West Liberty-Salem, Cedarville and Southeastern participate as teams, while Emmanuel Christian senior Nick Kittles, Mechanicsburg senior and sectional medalist Caleb Westfall and junior teammate Jack Shoemaker advanced as individuals.
The D-II girls district tournament is also Wednesday at Pipestone Golf Course. Shawnee represents the Springfield area as the lone team, while Kenton Ridge senior Layne Greenwood, Greeneview senior Frankie Fife and Greenon junior Alison Rairden compete as individuals.
The D-I boys and girls sectional golf tournaments start next week.