For much of Columbus East’s boys golf season, coach Tom LaBarbera has stressed to his team that they needed to be focused and consistent.
That consistency showed Saturday, when three Olympians took top-10 finishes at the Bedford North Lawrence Invitational to claim the team championship.
“They remained patient and stayed consistent,” LaBarbera said. “You’re always happy when you have three shoot under 80. We’re so familiar with this course, and in three weeks we will be back for conference, so we wanted to come prepared.”
East finished at 315, while Bloomington South took second at 316 and Jasper finished third at 319. Second-ranked Columbus North took fourth (326) and Jennings County took 12th (365).
Leading the way for the Olympians were Austin Proffitt and Chris Jurrema, who each shot 77 to tie for sixth individually. Adam Krebs finished 10th at 78, while Zach Sutton carded 83, and Derek Alexander scored a 93.
Proffitt said a number of his shots surprised him.
“I felt like I had some lucky shots,” Proffitt said. “Some of my drives went better than I expected, and I was staying consistent through much of the back nine.”
After having a rough start, hitting a double-bogey on the first hole, Krebs said his shots improved through the back nine.
“I had a rough front nine,” Krebs said. “Getting a double bogey wasn’t what I wanted to do right off the bat, but I was able to hit some key shots to keep a pretty decent score.”
With environmental factors taking a toll on the golfers, LaBarbera said the wind didn’t affect the team.
“We like these kinds of courses,” LaBarbera said. “We work with the environment and stay loose. Not every shot is going to be perfect, but we knew we could stay consistent.”
“Our coaching staff has told the guys to remain positive,” LaBarbera said. “We have had some up and down moments this season, but for guys like (Proffitt and Jurrema) to perform like they did today was great for us.”
Michael VanDeventer led the Bull Dogs with 79. Christian Fairbanks shot 80, Nick Waskom scored an 81, Ian Coffey carded an 86 and Jake Armuth finished at 95.
North coach Doug Bieker said the team struggled for much of the day.
“I’m quite disappointed with our performance,” Bieker said. “These past few weeks have been rough. Our heads just aren’t in the right place, and we are missing shots we usually make.”
Fairbanks said he had some minor problems with his swing.
“My iron play hurt me today,” Fairbanks said. “I had some decent shots, but overall, it wasn’t my best performance. I know the team’s kind of down on themselves, as well, because of how we played, but we have to think positively.”
“There’s no excuse for how we played,” Bieker said. “We’re used to this course, and we know we are a lot better than what we did today.”
Ian Donnell and Jake Simmons finished at 90 for Jennings County, while Tyler Clerkin shot 91, Bailey Wilder had a 94 and Garrett Day finished at 108.
“We had some moments on the back nine where we were shooting a little better,” Panthers coach Gary Yeager said. “We faced some tough competition, and the guys know what level they need to be at to get better.”
Columbus North also had a second team compete at Round Barn in Rochester and won the title with a 336. Kyung Kim and Spencer Fairbanks led the Bull Dogs at 83, while Matt Vorndran shot 84, Jared Imlay scored an 86 and Bryce Turner carded a 96.