‘Race horses,’ ‘workhorses’ lead Graham boys golf team into district

Graham senior Chasen Poole leads the Graham Falcons into the Division II district championships at Glenview Golf Course in Cincinnati on Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED / Greg Billing
Graham senior Chasen Poole leads the Graham Falcons into the Division II district championships at Glenview Golf Course in Cincinnati on Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED / Greg Billing

With his father, Chad, a standout modified race car driver, Chasen Poole also gave racing a try with the quarter-midgets. He liked it, but these days Chasen has found another sport that drives him.

The Graham High School senior leads the Falcons into the Division II district golf tournament Wednesday at Glenview Golf Course in Cincinnati. Along with junior Andy Milligan the Falcons have a 1-2 punch the program hasn’t seen in a few years. Poole, Milligan, senior Josh Lewis and juniors Nick Roberts and Lane Smith combined to shoot 334 for a 16-stroke victory at the D-II sectional tournament last week.

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The top three teams and the top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to next week’s state championships. Graham has never qualified for state as a team.

“A lot of teams have one good player,” Graham coach Tom Milligan said. “Last year our dynamics were we didn’t have that race horse. We had a bunch of workhorses. This year we have a couple race horses that can get under 80 and we still have those workhorses. Andy and Chasen have been competing every week. They make each other better because they have a good, friendly rivalry.”

Individual qualifiers in D-II include Greeneview’s Mason Witt, Greenon’s Dylan Schetter, Northwestern’s Ivan Mardovin and Urbana’s William McDavid.

In the D-III district at Beavercreek Golf Club on Thursday, both Northeastern and Cedarville qualified as teams. Northeastern’s team includes seniors Eli Justice and Josh Calhoun, junior Dylan Roberts and sophomores Hunter Buck and Cameron James. Cedarville’s team is comprised of seniors Adam Wood and Caleb Smith, juniors Logan Brennaman and Jadon Horsley and sophomore Mitch Rogers.

Individual qualifiers are Catholic Central’s Jack Bramel, Emmanuel Christian’s Bobby Peyton, Mechanicsburg’s Jack Shoemaker and Triad’s Cole Pond.

As for Graham, coach Milligan said Poole is the first Falcon in perhaps 10 seasons that is serious about playing golf at the next level. Andy Milligan is also exploring his college options, too.

“I started playing with my dad and grandpa and ever since then I’ve just loved it,” Poole said. “I practice as much as I can at the golf course all the time. I truly love it.”

Poole and Milligan both shot 78 at the sectional tournament at Reid Park to finish four shots behind Witt, who was medalist. They’re looking for the same, or maybe even a little bit better, on Wednesday.

“I think the sky is the limit for us,” Milligan said of his Falcons teammates. “We’re just more consistent throughout from (positions) 3-6. Any of those guys can come in and shoot just as good as we can. I think that’s what makes us so dangerous.”

Coach Milligan said he’s trying to pattern his golf program off the success of the state championship wrestling program. That means “competition, work ethic and dedication to the sport in the off season,” Milligan said.

“Chasen is the first person doing it playing in the summer and so forth. The other guys started playing in the summer as well, getting instruction. We have a few guys who want to be golfers and guys who just enjoy golf. It’s a good mix. … It’s been refreshing. I have a couple baseball guys that enjoy golf. There’s real good chemistry on the team this year. I’m just proud of them.”