Written by Mark Griffin
Monday, 22 September 2008 10:50
No one, especially 34th-year Genoa golf coach Tom Pickerel, was surprised that the Comets repeated as Suburban Lakes League champions on Sept. 16.
Genoa won the tournament title and clinched the overall league title at Green Hills after shooting 310, followed by Woodmore (321), Eastwood (346), Lake (354), Otsego (361), Gibsonburg (369), Elmwood (371) and Lakota (415).
“We had a very experienced team coming back this year,” said Pickerel, who won his 12th SLL title. “We fully expected to do well in the league this year, so it really wasn’t a big surprise.”
Comets senior Jared Hillman won the individual tourney title with a 3-over-par 74. Hillman shot 73 last year to also earn medalist honors.
“There’s something about Green Hills that brings out the best in Jared,” Pickerel said. “He needed just 29 putts to record that score, and that is a very good number for Green Hills. You need to be patient around the greens at Green Hills. You can give strokes away real easily around the greens.”
Junior Nolan Eli finished three shots behind Hillman with a 77, which earned him first-team All-SLL honors for the second straight year.
“He was our highest point-getter throughout the season,” Pickerel said. “Nolan and Kyle Simmons are both very reliable players. They were our leaders all year and they stepped up (Tuesday). They all have certain things that are strengths of their games. Nolan is a very accurate iron player.”
Simmons, a junior, shot 78 to tie for third and also earned back-to-back first-team all-league honors.
“Kyle Simmons is pretty good off the tee and has a good short game around the greens and is probably the best putter on the team,” Pickerel said.
Genoa senior Kyle Evans shot 81 to earn second-team All-SLL honors. Evans was a first-team performer last year.
“Kyle Evans is a very consistent player,” Pickerel said. “He’s averaging 41 for nine holes and very seldom strayed from that number. It’s nice that you can count on somebody like that.”
Also playing key roles throughout the season for Genoa were senior Rob Orians and junior Dustin TenEyck.
“During those (league) shootouts they each came through at opportune times to play their best games of the season when the other four guys were off a little bit,” Pickerel said. “They were a major factor in helping us garner a championship this year.”
Woodmore senior Jack Rospert tied for third with a 78 at the SLL tournament, while Gibsonburg senior Jared Shafer also earned first-team honors with an 80.
Lake senior Matt Smith, who shot 78, earned SLL Player of the Year honors.
The SLL used a different format this season, going with shootouts to factor into the team championship and to determine first- and second-team players.
In the past, each league team played dual and triangular matches against each of the league schools. This year all eight schools played each other at the same course on the same day, on four different days.
Genoa won all four shootouts.
The Comets’ next goal is to win the Division II sectional tournament Sept. 27 at Heatherdowns Country Club.
The Comets placed third at last year’s sectional at Detwiler and advanced to the district tournament. The top three teams and top four individuals advance to districts.
“If we play our game, I like our chances really well,” Pickerel said. “We just need to do our own thing and I think we'll be in pretty good shape.”