AKRON — It was proved without a shadow of a doubt that Highland’s boys golf team was the best nine-hole squad in the Suburban League this season.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, they were ordinary — twice — in 18-hole events at J.E. Good Park Golf Course.
Highland failed to clinch its first SL title since 2001 Wednesday, as Tallmadge back-doored into its fourth straight crown by winning the postseason tournament.
The Blue Devils (318) received a medalist-winning 3-over-par 74 from Zach Mosholder and crucial help from Revere (328), which edged the Hornets (333) for the all-important second position at the tournament.
“It’s disappointing,” said Highland senior Ryan Scherler, who shot a team-low 78. “We played good all season and to come here and not play as well as we did before and beat the teams we did before, it’s tough.”
Despite finishing the dual-match schedule 7-0, Highland entered the day with a slim lead in the overall standings. The SL preseason and postseason tournaments each count 30 percent toward the overall total, and the Hornets were a disappointing third at the Aug. 8 version.
There was still plenty of wiggle room. Outside of winning Wednesday’s event, Highland also would have clinched the crown by finishing second or if third-place Revere won the tournament and the Hornets took third.
Despite multiple scenarios working in its favor, Highland couldn’t pull it out, and Vince Bepulsi, Ian Moy, Kurt Parker, Chris Nakis, Jim Heyduk and Kevin Swan still have bragging rights as the only team in school history to win an SL title.
“We were only a shot a person (behind Revere),” said Dubiel, who shot 81. “We were right there. We just couldn’t get it together. We expected Tallmadge to be right there with us, but Revere definitely surprised us by stepping up.”
Scherler started strong by taking a 1-over 36 into the turn. He then kept the momentum until finishing the final four holes 5 over. Dubiel’s day was the opposite, as the sophomore struggled with the front nine but rebounded with a 38 on the back.
No. 3 man Andy Grayson grinded his way to an 84 and joined Scherler and Dubiel on the All-SL first team, but the bottom half of the lineup couldn’t match season averages. The Hornets also struggled mightily in the clutch, as the six players took five double-bogeys, three triple-bogeys and one quintuple-bogey over the final four holes on an 85-year-old course noted for its massive oak trees.
“If you don’t hit a fairway, you’re going get at least a bogey on the hole,” Scherler said. “If you don’t hit the ball straight, the scores are going to go up.”
Wadsworth (339) surprised Green and Nordonia by finishing fourth Wednesday behind freshman Justin Vaughan’s career-low 83. The performance helped the Grizzlies move up to fifth in the overall standings.
First-team All-SL pick Connor Sherrill (85), Matt DePero (85) and Josh Groves (86) also scored.
“Justin Vaughan having our low round, that says a lot, especially for him building on the future,” coach Greg Pickard said. “That looks good for us.
“We played solid. We left a few shots out there — our putting wasn’t great — but we held it together and stayed away from the big numbers for the most part.”
Cloverleaf (363) had an opportunity to get out of the basement, but Copley came through with a 350 to hold on to seventh. The Colts were led by sophomore Greg Briggs (85) and junior Jack Gerber (88).
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.