The Columbus North boys golf team could appropriately be described this year as determined.
The first-day leader in the state golf championship each of the four years of this senior class, the Bull Dogs have come tantalizingly close and this year were determined to win it all.
North finished second in last year’s state championship, a mere two strokes behind winner Westfield. Just two years earlier North suffered another gut-wrenching loss, losing the championship on a tiebreaker.
The two runner-up finishes didn’t sit well with North’s five seniors: Michael VanDeventer, Christian Fairbanks, Ian Coffey, Nick Waskom and Zack Lee. They had one purpose this season: Win the state title.
That determination was in full force Tuesday and Wednesday as the Bull Dogs made a clean sweep of the hardware and ended an 80-year championship drought for Columbus high school golf. North posted the lowest score in each of the two rounds and bested runner-up Westfield by 11 strokes to claim its first title since 1934. VanDeventer and Fairbanks tied for the individual medalist honor, and VanDeventer won the Fred A. Keesling Mental Attitude Award.
VanDeventer and Fairbanks showed class by sharing the individual title rather than going to a playoff to determine one champion.
Winning the team championship Wednesday was a crowning moment for a program that consistently has been a title contender: 32 sectional titles, 10 regional championships and six state runner-up finishes.
Talent, of course, has played a role in that success.
VanDeventer and Fairbanks joined former Bull Dog golfers Andy Johnson (1990) and Tyler Duncan (2007) as individual state champions. However, the program’s consistency also has been rooted in good coaching, hard work and dedication.
And, of course, determination.
North coach Doug Bieker summed that up after a practice round Monday: “We are coming to win.”
The Bull Dogs weathered the heat and humidity and 14 other teams to claim a prize that has been tantalizingly close.
This team stands as an example of what can be accomplished when athletes refuse to give up on a goal. Congratulations to all.