The Graham Falcons boys golf team has three rules: be a good teammate, be coachable and give a full effort every day.
Winning league championships is simply a result. The Falcons go for their third straight Mad River Division title when the Central Buckeye Conference holds its tournament at Liberty Hills Golf Club on Thursday.
Graham enters with a third straight undefeated regular season at 12-0 overall and 8-0 in division play.
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Senior Andy Milligan leads as the Falcons’ No. 1 golfer. Milligan, who averages 38 in nine holes and a 78 for a full round, been Graham’s medalist in every dual match but one. Senior Nick Roberts is right behind him with averages of 40 and 80.
“Those two guys have pretty much been our bread and butter,” Graham coach Tom Milligan said.
Seniors Lane Smith and Sam Stickley, sophomore Eric Goddard and junior Grant Whetstone round out the top five. Sophomores Brent Case, Mason Huffman and Eli Martin have also seen varsity time.
“The good thing about our team and has been in the last few years, every once in a while a No. 5 or No. 6 – or even a junior varsity guy – will be able to throw in a decent number,” Milligan said. “Sometimes those are the numbers that will save us in a round. That’s just the way it’s been working for us the last few years. We focus a lot on the No. 5 and No. 6 guys just as much as we do on the first and second guys.”
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Graham shot 334 at the preseason tournament to beat Benjamin Logan’s 352. Milligan was medalist with 71. Milligan leads the point standings for the Mad River’s golfer of the year with 107.5 points. Ben Logan’s Ethan Ricketts is second with 104 and Roberts is third with 97.5.
The Division II sectional tournament follows on Tuesday at Reid Park in Springfield. Graham won the sectional title last season.
“We want to repeat and qualify for districts. We’re hoping the guys will be prepared for it,” Milligan said. “Every year we have the same set of goals: we want to compete and contend for the league title, we want to compete for the sectional title and it’s always out there that we’d like to get to state. That’s where it gets really tough.”
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The Falcons graduated two seniors off last season’s sectional title team. They’ll graduate four more from this year’s roster.
“They’ve all grown up together. They’re close friends and done other sports together,” Milligan said. “They get along really well. With a small team, chemistry plays a part pulling for other teammates.
“Those guys pull for each other. They know they’re not expected to shoot something their incapable of, but they do their job and they pull their weight. They are team first and that’s why we’ve been successful on our side of the league.”
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• Addie Engle of Catholic Central (17:26.8) won the girls D-I race in the Cedarville University Friendship cross country invitational last weekend. Takumi Ford of Bellbrook (16:13.8) was runner-up in the boys D-I event.
Hope Erbach of Waynesville (19:55.9) was third among the combined Division II-III girls and Ethan Wallis of Cedarville (16:17.6) was second among the Divisions II-III boys.
• Northwestern (11-2 overall, 9-0 CBC) and Kenton Ridge (11-2, 8-1) are headed into a showdown next week that could decide the conference girls tennis championship. Both have CBC matches prior to next Tuesday’s match at Northwestern. Kenton Ridge must first get past visiting Jonathan Alder (8-2, 8-2) on Thursday.
Macy Yeager of Northwestern is 20-1 overall at No. 3 singles and 9-0 in the conference. Warriors teammate Kate Pederson (18-3, 9-0) tops all No. 2 singles CBC players. CBC girls tennis is comprised of eight teams, which are not split into divisions.
»» SOCCER: Springfield on a roll
• Greenon (9-2-0, 4-0-0) and West Liberty-Salem (8-0-1, 3-0-0) have separated from the rest of the Ohio Heritage Conference boys soccer teams. Both have several OHC games remaining, including a regular season-ending showdown at Greenon on Oct. 8 that could decide the OHC championship.
Greenon junior Trent Green leads the OHC with 14 goals, five assists and 33 points. Knights sophomore Clayton Minteer has eight goals and four assists for 20 points.
West Liberty-Salem is led by senior Ian Wolfe, whose 12 goals, two assists and 26 points ranked second to Green. Tigers senior Ethan Cole is No. 3 in CBC scoring with six goals, nine assists and 21 points.
• Shawnee quarterback Robie Glass of the CBC leads the area in rushing yardage. Essentially a running back in the Braves’ offensive scheme, he has 487 rushing yards and six touchdowns after three games. A two-time D-II state high jump champ, he continues to generate recruiting interest and owns an offer from West Virginia State.
• OHC rivals Mechanicsburg (3-0) and West Liberty-Salem (3-0) were the only area teams that were ranked in the first Associated Press state football polls this week. Mechanicsburg drew one first-place vote and was No. 10 in D-VI. WL-Salem also had a first-place vote and was No. 12 in D-V.
The teams will finish the regular season with a Week 10 showdown at West Liberty.
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