Long wait worth it for state champion KR golfers

Led by Portz, Schlicher, team claims first state championship by 4 shots.

SUNBURY — There’s nothing quite like the watching and the waiting teams go through at the state golf tournament.

A football team knows whether it has won or lost when the clock runs out. The Kenton Ridge High School boys golf team, on the other hand, had to keep its eyes on the scoreboard as OHSAA officials posted score after score. The Cougars had all completed their rounds, but other teams had not.

“It kills you,” senior Clay Portz said. “When you hear scores of what’s going on and you’re just sitting there, you can’t do anything about it. There’s nothing worse.”

In the end, the wait was worth it. Kenton Ridge followed its first-round score of 342 with a 335 Saturday, winning the Division II title by four strokes at the Northstar Golf Club.

“It’s an unbelievable way to go out,” Portz said.

Portz led the way, shooting 82-80—162 and finishing third overall. Senior Luke Schlicher shot 86-80—166, tying for fifth, and was followed by senior Hunter Clark (82-88—170) and juniors Seth Fearn (92-87—179) and Eric Myers (98-101—199).

“It means a lot,” Schlicher said. “When me and Hunter and Clay were first starting out golfing, that’s all we talked about: going to state and winning. We didn’t really think we would be here.”

It had to be Kenton Ridge’s day when Portz’s tee shot on 18 hit Kenton Ridge student Michael Knotts, who was standing with Athletic Director Kris Spriggs on the cart path a long way from the tee. The ball had been heading toward a pond, but ended up with a good lie just off the fairway.

“We’ve built a good tradition here the last few years,” coach Chris White said. “We just couldn’t get over that hump. Today we got over the hump. It was a long two days in tough conditions, but they deserve it. They’re the best team in the state.”

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