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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Eastwood's boys golf team dominated the Suburban Lakes League a few years

        Senior Jon Juergens

ago, winning three straight league titles from 2003-05, and Coach Mike Gardner is looking forward to a return to the top.

"Ten of our 12 guys will be back in 2010," said Gardner, in his 38th year coaching the Eagles. "This year, we shot the best scores we've shot in four years. When our two seniors entered the program in 2006 - both of them are four-year lettermen - these were the best scores we've shot in any of those four years as a group, by quite a bit."

The Eagles shot a season-best 321 at the SLL tournament on Sept. 22 at Green Hills in Clyde, but it wasn't enough to keep Genoa, which shot 316, from capturing its third straight SLL title.

Eastwood sophomore Tommy Blanchard led the Eagles with a 75 at the SLL tournament to place third overall. Senior Jon Juergens and sophomore Cody Jennings each shot 81 to finish tied for seventh. Sophomore Austin Speck shot 84 to place 11th, and senior Austin LaVoy shot 85 to place 14th.

Juergens and Blanchard were named first-team All-SLL, while LaVoy and Speck were named to the second team and Jennings earned honorable mention honors.

On Oct. 1, Juergens shot a 12-over-par 83 at the Division II sectional at Heatherdowns. The top three teams and the top four individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to Thursday's district tournament at Sycamore Springs in Arlington.

"Jon was pretty consistent," Gardner said. "He started out his second nine - which was the front nine at Heatherdowns - with four pars in a row. He had a couple bogeys and ended up shooting 39 on that side. He went 44-39, so he had a nice comeback on his second nine."

Juergens has a chance to become the first Eastwood golfer to qualify for the state meet since Gary Michel in 2005. Michael shot a 154 to finish third that year, the best state finish ever by an Eastwood golfer.

"Jon has been our No. 2 man behind Tommy Blanchard just about all year," Gardner said. "Tommy was our No. 1 player. Jon was averaging 41.6 this season and Blanchard averaged 40.6, so Jon was a strong two-man."

Blanchard shot 85 at the sectional, followed by Jennings (91) and LaVoy (92). Gardner said the Eagles were "quite disappointed" after missing qualifying for the district tournament by two strokes.

"We didn't think we were a shoo-in to get out," the coach said. "On paper we were probably rated fourth, based on what teams did throughout the year. We did end up beating Clyde, which was rated ahead of us. They had a tremendous season. They won the SBC and their dual record was ridiculous.

"Genoa, Port Clinton and Clyde were probably better teams on paper. We thought if we could get one of them, we could get out. This was the second year in a row that Lake beat us. They were the second team last year, when Genoa beat us by three. Credit (Lake coach) Terry Tansel for getting them prepared and getting it done when they had to."

Genoa, led by Nolan Eli's 77, won the sectional title with a 323 team score. Kyle Simmons and Jake Winters both shot 81 for the Comets, while Andrew Goeckerman shot 84.

Lake took third with a 349 team score and advanced behind an 83 by Nate Yeager. Jake Materni shot 87 for the Flyers followed by Casey Witt (88) and

 Sophomore Austin Speck          

Casey Conine (91).

Gardner was encouraged by Eastwood's play this season, especially since the Eagles had three sophomores in their top five. Sixth man Nathan Schuessler is also a sophomore.

Blanchard, the son of Tom Blanchard, who recently purchased Tanglewood Golf Course, finished third in points in the SLL.

"Tommy played pretty solid all year," Gardner said. "Someone said that every time they drive by Tanglewood, they see Tommy is out there chipping or putting. He just plays and practices all the time. When you do that, you're going to get good. He just has a good, solid game all the way around."

LaVoy, who shot a 78 at the Napoleon Invitational, finished his senior year with a 42.3 average.

"He had some high rounds when he didn't control the ball," Gardner said. "He is perhaps in the top three longest hitters I've ever coached. He is really, really long. It's scary. He goes after it."

Speck had a 44.1 nine-hole average this season, while Jennings had a 44.2 average.

"Cody started out the year with a 79 at his first tournament, then he played OK the rest of the fall and came on really well near the end," Gardner said. "His second-best tournament was at the SLL tournament, where he shot an 81. He was in 25th place in points going into that day and he ended up 13th. He had a great day that day.

"Austin had some really high rounds early in the season, but then in the middle to two-thirds of the way through he had some tremendous rounds. He ended up second-team All-SLL, but early in the season you wouldn't have guessed he would make anything. He's going to be very good next year."

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