FORT WAYNE – When it comes to boys golf, northeast Indiana has proved itself a strong region but not necessarily a terrific one.
In the history of the IHSAA tournament, which dates to 1932 (with a five-year hiatus for World War II), only three teams from the area have won the championship and there have been only four individual medalists.
Fort Wayne Catholic won in 1959, Northrop in 1984 and Warsaw in 2005. Individually, Fred Link of Elmhurst won in 1941, Jon Oliver of Huntington North in 1997, Mike Schumaker of Columbia City in 2000 and Warsaw’s Tyler Ostrom in 2011.
Could those numbers change this year? The following will do their darndest.
Jon Schram, Warsaw: The senior tied for eighth in the state with a two-day total of 3 over at The Legends of Indiana. He averaged 74.
Chase Ellworth, Bellmont: The junior tied for 22nd at the state finals last year at 11 over. His nine-hole average was 38.
Spencer Gillig, Bishop Dwenger: The junior shot 12 over at The Legends to finish tied for 24th. His nine-hole average was 39.7.
Michael Sharp, East Noble: He went into the final round of the state finals 2 under and in second place but shot an 87 to finish 13 over and in 28th place. The junior will be out for redemption.
Joe Leja, Bishop Luers: The senior won the SAC tournament with a 5-over 77 in 2011 then finished second with a 75 last year.
Warsaw: The Tigers tied for sixth at state last year at 49 over, 14 behind champion Evansville Harrison. They return Schram, Tim Ahlersmeyer (77 average), Jonny Hollar (81 average) and Jared Essig (81 average). The Tigers haven’t lost a nine-hole match in three years.
Bishop Dwenger: Bishop Dwenger finished 10th at state at 63 over – last among teams that made the cut – but also has an impressive group returning: Gillig, Drake Eifert (38.3 nine-hole average), Jake Leonard (39), John Hope (39.4), Casey Cooney (40.9) and Michael Filler (41.4).
DeKalb: The Barons finished fifth at regionals with a 326 and return senior Spencer Shoemaker, who shot a 79.
Bishop Luers: The Knights have the last two SAC champions – Leja and Joe Korjenek – and could give the Saints a run in conference.
Canterbury: The Cavaliers had a disappointing seventh-place finish last year in regionals, shooting a 330, which was 22 strokes behind Warsaw, but the Trevor Uhl-led team will be a factor this year.
Change of venue: Warsaw has seven regional championships, tied for the fifth most in state history. That includes wins in 2010 and 2012 at Orchard Ridge. The venue changes this year to the Tigers’ home course of Stonehenge, making another state finals trip seem even more probable.
Return of Van Horn: Trent Van Horn was a terrific player for Canterbury in 2011, capturing second place in regionals with a 72. After taking last year off to concentrate on basketball, he’s back, and he’ll bolster the Cavaliers.
Sharp angles: Katie Sharp finished her career with two runner-ups, a fifth- and 11th-place finish in the girls state finals. After his contention last year, Michael is looking to do what his sister couldn’t.
The surprise team: Fremont is a little off the radar, but it returns everyone from a team that finished third in the conference, and it has a great player in Ausin Corcimiglia (79 average).
ACAC battles: Leo and Garrett are rivals who will be battling in the ACAC. The Railroaders lost Bennett Rieke. The Lions are super young.