LAGRANGE — The key to team golf is consistency and that’s the perfect word to describe Avon’s performance Tuesday at the Keystone Grey Hawk Invitational.
The Eagles were one of only two teams to have four golfers shoot in the 80s, with senior Cade Grant and freshman Nolan King leading the way with matching 9-over 81s.
Avon took home the team trophy with a score of 336, three strokes ahead of runner-up Vermilion.
“I knew right away at tryouts that these guys were good golfers, but I am a little bit surprised because I haven’t seen them all out on the course much yet,” Avon coach Jeff Stevens said.
In just the second match of his high school career, King wasn’t flustered by competing with golfers who were 2 and 3 years older.
“I’ve never really felt a lot of pressure competing against older kids,” King said. “I don’t really look at the age, I just look at them as equals and feel like I can compete with them.”
For King, who shot an 84 in the Eagles’ first event of the year Monday at Springvale, his preseason preparations are already paying dividends.
“Every day this summer I was out on the range practicing,” he said. “I really wasn’t expecting to do this well, but I’m happy with how it turned out and hopefully I can keep going.”
Grant’s 81 is even more spectacular in light of the fact that he shaved 24 strokes off of his score from the same event a year ago.
“I was sinking putts left and right, I had straight drives and I was staying really focused,” Grant said. “It felt really good today. I’ve been working hard. Last year I didn’t do well here, I kinda blew up, so to crank out an 81 today was really special.”
Junior Nick Robbins, who shot an 86, and freshman Jack Gerborg (88) rounded out the Avon lineup.
“I think we were all just feeling good coming in after placing third (Monday),” King said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”
With so many underclassmen in the Avon lineup, Stevens knows they still might be a year away from contending for a Southwestern title or district tournament berth.
“It’s good to think about this year and I’m really happy with how we’ve started out, but I’m thinking more about the next couple of years and the future is really bright for us right now,” he said.
North Ridgeville senior Alec Matej was the medalist with a 7-over 79. Matej double-bogeyed the par-5 seventh hole but recovered with a birdie on No. 8 to get his game back on track.
“I didn’t let the bad shots get into my head,” Matej said. “I shot an 88 here last year, I was pretty disappointed with that. This year I did a good job of getting out of trouble when I had a bad shot.
“My goal this year is to finish No. 1 in the SWC. This is a great confidence booster, this feels great.”
The Sailors had a strong outing with Noah Cacciatore leading the way with an 81 and Mason Montgomery and Reese Miller following closely behind with 84 and 85, respectively.
Midview’s Andy Lewis and Firelands’ Jackson Talbot had solid rounds for the second day in a row with 81s. Keystone’s Bryan Sayers also shot an 81.
TEAM STANDINGS: Avon 336, Vermilion 339, Olmsted Falls 351, Bay 362, Lutheran West 362, North Olmsted 366, North Ridgeville 367, Firelands 368, Keystone 375, Elyria Catholic 380, Wellington 383, Midview 390, Elyria 394, Buckeye 424, Lakewood 447.
MEDALIST: Alec Matej, North Ridgeville, 79
Top Individuals: Tony Vannello, Buckeye, 80; Mally Kilbane, Olmsted Falls, 80; Jackson Talbot, Firelands, 81; Andy Lewis, Midview, 81; Bryan Sayers, Keystone, 81; Cade Grant, Avon, 81; Nolan King, Avon, 81; Noah Cacciatore, Vermilion, 81.
FIRELANDS (368): Carter Grude 94, Talbot 81, Austin Urban 97, Jacob Newman 105, Beau Grude 96.
MIDVIEW (390): Lewis 81, Chase English 98, Nathan Lisicky 116, Michael Ebosh 95, Dan Heular 119.
KEYSTONE (375): Joseph Gaughan 100 , Sayers 81, Ian Morgan 97, Jake Morgan 97, Rocky Houston 104.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE (367): Matej 79, Andrew Bogner 99 , Greg Codner 85, Jackson Dienes 104, Ethan Hermensky 105.
AVON (336): Nick Robbins 86, Grant 81, Jack Gerborg 88, King 81, Matt Granitto 91.
ELYRIA (394): Ryan Streator 110, Philip Mercado 91, Eric Sito 98, Kyle Kasubienski 107, Franco Trentadue 98.
WELLINGTON (383): Will Palmison 96, Jordan McKee 95, Luke Tandarich 92, Eric Benko 100, Wyatt Sasack 107.
VERMILION (339): Reese Miller 85, Cacciatore 81 Mason Montgomery 84, Sam Herron 98, Brock Fisher 89.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (380): Kyle Mahaffey 86, Josh Wells 96, Nick Vrbaczewski 97 , Will Muzilla 101, Devin Pluta 107.