Columbus golf teams seek spots in state championships

The Providence Regional has proven to be one of the state’s top boys golf regionals — if not the toughest — since the tournament was realigned a few years.

With several ranked teams and only three state berths available, Columbus North and Columbus East teams haven’t been able to qualify the past couple of years. They’ll look to reverse that trend today at Champions Pointe in Henryville.

“It’s never easy at that regional,” North coach Doug Bieker said. “Some of my best teams have not gotten out of there.”

Top-ranked Center Grove is the prohibitive favorite, with Bloomington South not far behind. North and East figure to battle with Floyd Central, Madison, Bedford North Lawrence, Perry Meridian and Franklin for the final spot.

The Bull Dogs did beat Bloomington South in a dual match at Harrison Lake Country Club, but fell to the Panthers in the Conference Indiana Tournament and a couple other invitationals during the regular season.

“Center Grove, it’s hard to discount what they’ve done all year long, and Bloomington South has been up or down at different times,” Bieker said. “I think we can certainly compete with South. We’ve proven that a couple times throughout the year. Certainly, our goal is to finish in the top three, and we’re going to compete for that spot.”

North won the Greensburg Sectional with a 300 on Friday at Greensburg Country Club. East finished second with a 309.

The Bull Dogs will go with the same five golfers they used at sectional — seniors Matt Vorndran, Spencer Fairbanks, Bryce Turner and Zachary Schiavello and sophomore Drew Smith.

“We’re going to go as the seniors lead,” Bieker said. “If those three or four seniors play well, we’ll be in good shape. We’re peaking at the right time, and I look for good things from this team.”

Olympians coach Tom LaBarbera also will use the same five he used in the sectional. Seniors Thomas Ruch and Derek Alexander are joined by sophomores Mark Mayhew and Nathan Cesarski and freshman Adrian Adams.

Ruch, Alexander, Mayhew and Cesarski all played in last year’s regional.

“We’re playing our best golf of the year, which is exciting going into this tournament,” LaBarbera said. “But we can’t think about the next step of getting to state. We have a tall order. We’re going to have to do the best we can all year.”

Jennings County also will compete in the regional, following its runner-up finish in Monday’s Madison Sectional. Brown County sophomores Parker VanNess and Trinity Lutheran seniors Chad Stuckwisch and Drew Royalty will play as individuals.

The top five individuals not on an advancing team will qualify for the state finals, which will be Tuesday and Wednesday at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.

Locals selected All-District

Senior Cooper Trinkle, who has led Columbus North to a regional title, has been named co-District Player of the Year by the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association.

North senior Kevin Thompson also was named to the All-District Team, along with Columbus East seniors Jon Crawford, Jonathan Foster and Luke Hostetler.

Bull Dogs make All-Conference

Columbus North’s Trinkle and junior Tyler Finke have been named to the All-Conference Indiana baseball team. Sophomore Parker Maddox is an honorable mention selection.

Freshman Sierra Norman is on the All-Conference softball squad. Sophomore Bailey Lofton and freshman Brooke Bruin made honorable mention.

Senior Aubrey Smith and junior Madelyn Sanders are on the All-Conference girls tennis team. Junior Yijiang Zhao is an honorable mention pick.

Senior wins third MVP

Aubrey Smith has been named MVP of the Columbus North girls tennis team for the third time in her four years.

Smith also won the team’s Bull Dog Award. Sanders won the Sportsmanship Award. Smith and Sanders were honored as team captains.

Smith, Sanders, Zhao, and sophomores Shweta Srinivasan and Servane Cloteaux were selected to the All-District team.

Freshman named MVP

Norman has been selected as Columbus North’s softball MVP.

Lofton and Bruin shared the team’s Bull Dog Award. Senior Madisyn Prince won the Coaches Award, and sophomore Jenna Fath took the Most Improved Award.