CLYDE - The two top contenders, St. Joe's Connor Dudley and Calvert's Jeremy Hanna, went back and forth in an 18-hole struggle to determine the overall Midland Athletic League champion.
Because of a change in the format, the two played together, seemingly carrying the weight of the title with them from hole to hole.
Then a sophomore from Hopewell-Loudon played a ridiculous back 9 and walked off with the medal.
In the Midland Athletic League Meet Friday, the overall championship did come down to Dudley and Hanna, who each shot a 74. Because of the divisional shootouts, Dudley was awarded the league title for the fourth consecutive year, and St. Joe - which shot a 310 - took the team tournament title for the third straight season on the way to the overall championship.
Hanna, who knew he needed to beat Dudley's score, missed a birdie putt on 18 that would have given him the title. He settled for a par while Dudley bogeyed.
"I always thought the freshman year would be the toughest one. This one was the toughest one," said St. Joe coach Joe Dudley, Connor's father. "(Connor) struggled a little bit coming in. For him to bogey the last two holes, that's not at all like how Connor typically plays. But playing with Jeremy - those two were neck-and-neck all day - fun match to watch."
MAL Golf Meet
at Seneca Hills
Fremont St. Joe 310; New Riegel 332; Hopewell-Loudon 333; North Baltimore 352; Calvert 357; St. Wendelin 360; Old Fort 370; Lakota 369; Carey 370; Seneca East 381; Mohawk 385; Bettsville 495
Bettsville: Ryan Hager 115; Tommy Kipps 126; Logan Robinson 125; Kyle Hager 129.
Calvert: Jeremy Hanna 74; Johnny Hays 81; Matt Huffman 88; Bryan Kennedy 116; Henry Burns 114.
Carey: Corbin Blair 90; Lincoln Stansberry 85; Zach Boes 97; Grant Wentling 102; Russell Phillips 98.
Hopewell-Loudon: Bryce Gorrell 73; Jarid Gelinas 85; Aric Creeger 85; Christian Madsen 85; Adam Black 99.
Lakota: Makayla Dull 81; Nate Ray 98; Hunter Calfin 101; Josh Mason 96; Kevin Woodruff 94.
Mohawk: Braydon Dunlop 85; J.W. Riedel 91; Hunter Jordan 97; Dillion Ochier 112.
New Riegel: Andrew Hohman 77; Brady Hall 83; Korey Williams 83; Brandyn Reinhart 90; Lance Smith 89.
North Baltimore: Cory Bean 84; Brock Boyer 78; Chad Wright 98; Jacob Frost 110; Garrett Boyer 92.
Old Fort: Brad Heilman 92; Matt Hill 95; Cole Davidson 94; Adam Alexander 89; Maison Steyer 97.
St. Joe: Connor Dudley 74; Brett Michael 75; Aaron Burns 80; Adam Swint 81; Collin Spader 98.
St. Wendelin: Kieran Campbell 89; Dalton Murray 89; Peter Campbell 95; Gabe Walters 93; Joey DeHaven 89.
Seneca East: Nate Phillips 84; Garrett Clark 112; Jack Daniel 96; Bradenn Nagel 104; Austin Holmer 97.
First Team: Connor Dudley (FSJ); Jeremy Hanna (Cal); Bryce Gorrell (H-L); Aaron Burns (FSJ); Makayla Dull (L); Andrew Hohman (NR).
Second Team: Adam Swint (FSJ); Cory Bean (NB); Brett Michael (FSJ); Nate Phillips (SE); Garrett Boyer (NB); Johnny Hays (Cal).
Honorable Mention: Brady Hall (NR); Kieran Campbell (SW); Corey Williams (NR); Corbin Blair (Car); Aric Creeger (H-L); Matt Huffman (Cal)
"We knew throughout where we stood," Connor the player said of his back-and-forth with Hanna. "It was a struggle. I didn't play good at all in my mind. I survived a lot, made a lot of little putts that I had to."
For his part, Hanna lamented some of his final holes - he double-bogeyed 15 and had took a five on the 17th.
"I played pretty well, I kinda just fell apart at the end," Hanna said. "A lot of missed opportunities. Overall I played pretty well, just couldn't get it done."
While Hanna and Dudley were struggling (for them, anyway) on the back 9, Hopewell-Loudon's Bryce Gorrell was owning it. He rolled to a 34 on the back 9 to finish with a 73, one shot better than Hanna and Dudley.
"I started making some birdie putts, started hitting greens, started giving myself chances," the sophomore said. "Some days, that's all you need. They just started falling."
Gorrell led the Chieftains to a 333, one stroke behind New Riegel for second place. The Blue Jackets were led by Andrew Hohman's 77, with all but one of their players breaking 90, a consistency that has led to their success. It also helped coach Mike Quinlan get recognized as the MAL Coach of the Year.
Quinlan said after his team's shootout play, the Blue Jackets knew they probably wouldn't finish first overall.
"Our goal was second, and that's what we did," Quinlan said.
North Baltimore finished fourth in the tournament, with Calvert coming in fifth at 357.
"[Players No.] 1-3 had good rounds," said Senecas coach Bob Williams. "Eighty-one for Johnny Hays is pretty much what his talent level says he should shoot. Matt Huffman, my No. 3 guy, shot an 88, which is his best round of the year."
St. Wendelin (360) finished behind Calvert, led by three players each shooting an 89. Old Fort finished at 370, led by Adam Alexander's 89.
Lakota shot a 369, led by Makayla Dull's 81. Dull, who played with a brace on her leg, said her round got better as it went along.
"On the back I wanted to go as low as I could, make up for the front," Dull said. "Try to get as many pars as I could, try to read my putts better, because that was kind of bad on the front."
Carey, led by Lincoln Stansberry's 85, finished ninth (370) with Seneca East (381), Mohawk (385) and Bettsville (495) rounding out the field.