Comets’ best season ends with 7th place state finish

Mark Griffin

A special season came to an end for Genoa’s boys golf team last Saturday in suburban Columbus.
After the Comets capped off the program’s best performance ever at the two-day state tournament, placing seventh out of 12 teams in the Division II event at Northstar Golf Club in Sunbury, junior Tommy Giles and his teammates had a chance to reflect.
“Going into this year, I knew all of us had put work in over the summer,” Giles said. “I had a lot of confidence in our team, real confidence that we were going to make it out of districts. We were all like brothers. Ethan (Smith), Isaac (Simmons) and me golfed all spring and summer together the last two years. Starting when the pins were put in at Maumee Bay - probably around late March or early April - we were there about three times a week. This team was special to me.”
Genoa finished with a team score of 692 on Saturday, while Gahanna Columbus Academy won its third straight D-II state title with a score of 615. The Comets placed 11th at the D-II state tournament in 2009, and they finished 11th in 1998 and 12th in 1992.
Giles, a junior, was the Comets’ low man last weekend, shooting an 80 on Friday and an 88 on a cold, windy Saturday for a 24-over 168, which gave him a tie for 32nd place.
“We were in sixth place after the first day and that’s when I thought we could make a statement down there,” Giles said. “I wanted us to take top eight, and after that first day I was real confident we could make that. We got a good look at the course and it fit us well.”
Galion, which beat Genoa for first place on a fifth-man tiebreaker at the district tournament a week earlier, finished sixth at Northstar, 15 strokes better than the Comets.
“There were 12 schools down there and nine of them were private schools,” Genoa coach Mike DeStazio said. “It’s like playing a five-card poker hand with only two cards when you’re playing against that type of competition. We went down there and wanted to try to be first among the public schools. That was our goal. We ended up second behind Galion.
“Our other goal was to try to be in the top six, so we missed it by one place. As a coach, I’ve been around long enough to know we didn’t have the horses to win a state championship. It’s an honor to think we did place the best of all the Genoa teams that have gone down there.”
Smith, a senior, had the second-lowest score for Genoa. Smith tied for 38th place after shooting a two-day total of 85-85—170. He said taking seventh at the state tournament as a team “meant a lot.”
“It’s pretty cool that we could beat the highest finish there for our school,” Smith said. “We didn’t really know about (the program’s state tournament history) it until we made it to state. Our goal throughout our careers was to get to state. Once we got there, obviously we wanted to do the best we could.”
Smith added that the experience and atmosphere were “really neat.”
“It was nothing like the local tournaments we play in,” he said. “They were a lot more strict about the rules, and a lot more people were there. It was just a different atmosphere. I was nervous on the first hole each day. After I got into my round, I calmed down and got relaxed.”
Simmons, a senior, was Genoa’s third-place performer, shooting a 77-97—174 to finish in 45th place.
“Isaac carried this team a lot this year,” DeStazio said. “He had two different rounds of golf (at state). The conditions were really bad (on Saturday) and it snowballed on him. The game of golf is about confidence. When it turned bad on him, he started pressing and the conditions were terrible. When you shoot a 77, you raise your bar. That got him into the mode of pressing and trying to make great shots instead of good shots.”
Genoa senior Brock Pollauf placed 56th after shooting a 91-92—183 at Northstar.
“Brock had a great tournament,” DeStazio said. “He’s been our four-man all year. He played steady golf. The 92 he shot Saturday was a tremendous score. I watched him miss three one-foot putts, but he had a tremendous tournament.”
Comets senior Mike Rightnowar shot 104-94—198 to finish 69th.
“Mike shoots a 104 and was off the course for about 45 minutes when I talked with him,” DeStazio said. “He said, ‘Coach, I think I’m going to be in last place today.’ I said there’s always tomorrow. He was on the third hole (on Saturday) and went double-bogey and he said, ‘Coach, I’m just going to enjoy this round. It’s my senior year and and I’m gonna have fun.’ He shoots a 94, and in those conditions that was a great round.”
Junior Joey Large was Genoa’s alternate at the state tournament.
“For three rounds – the practice round and both tournament rounds - he followed Tommy the whole way,” DeStazio said. “I was very proud of him. He was truly a team player for those three days.”
Smith said this was how he envisioned his high school career would come to an end.
“All of the seniors went out the way we wanted to,” he said. “Our whole golf careers, our main goal was to get to state. To get there our senior year was awesome.”


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association