Clinton County had a hand in some form of the American or National Division boys golf titles the past three seasons. Wilmington won the crown twice, Clinton-Massie once and East Clinton once.
But in 2020, Batavia took home the American crown and Clermont Northeastern won the National title.
The Bulldogs triumph came despite New Richmond having the top two golfers in the league, Jackson Miller and Jake Riffe.
The Rockets were runaway winners in the National, 47 shots ahead of runnerup East Clinton. Blanchester was third. CNE had three underclassmen earn first team all-league honors in 2020.
The Blanchester boys golf team will have two returning players in 2021.
Bryce Bandow and Andrew Osborn will play for individual honors this season in the SBAAC National Division.
Brian Miller was runnerup in the league tournament but the 2021 News Journal Clinton County Scholar-Athlete winner has graduated. He was the top golfer for BHS the past four seasons.
Aaron Lawson is head coach for the boys team. In his 11 years, BHS has won 248 matches.
Bandow has taken on a leadership role for the Wildcats, leading in drdills and play while also creating a great team chemistry, Lawson said.
With three girls in the program, Regan Grogg, Zoey Hupp, Danielle Bolser, there may be times when all five golfers play together if there’s not a girls match scheduled.
Lawson said the team’s play tee to green is solid but the short game needs improve to better individual scores. Lost ball penalties and three-putts are areas that need work to contend for individual honors.
The Clinton-Massie boys golf team wasn’t too far off the lead in the SBAAC American Division tournament.
The Falcons were third in the league tournament, 10 shots off Batavia’s pace-setting finish. But Dakota Gasaway and Michael Moritz werefirst team all-league golfers last year but both graduated.
So head coach Phil Larrick, in his fourth varsity season and 16th overall, will have to replace his top two players. Clay Carroll, a three-year starter, also graduated.
Ethan Johnson was second team player for the Falcons as a junior in 2020. Cam Morgan and Logan Miller return and newcomers junior Connor Stulz, freshman Andy Steed and freshman Owen Goodwin will give the Falcons solid options as the season progresses.
“I’m excited for the season to begin,” said Larrick, who will be assisted by Clayton Morgan. “This should be a fun group to watch.”
Larrick said there are 14 golfers on the roster and the team goal is to return to the top of the American Division standings.
Youth was served last season as five of the six National Division first-team golfers were underclassmen.
Among them, East Clinton’s Nathan Ellis.
Ellis was first team as a sophomore last year, just three shots off the first place total of CNE then-sophomore Joey Shumard in the league tournament.
As a team, the Astros were 6-14 last season. Mike Deters, club pro at Snow Hill, is the head coach in his fifth season. The top loss from last year’s squad is Quinten Tolle. Mitchell Ellis is a newcomer of note for the Astros.
Deters said the “elder” Ellis has taken leadership of the team. Dakota Collom, Austin Kmatz and Aiden Walker round out the Astros roster.
“This team is very coachable and they want to learn,” Deters said. “They also get along with each other and play well together.
“We’ve got a younger group with one freshman and two sophomores, but we also have good experience with Nathan. It’s nice to see the younger group come out; it only helps the EC golf program build for the future. Nathan should be a favorite to win the National Division Player of the Year. Looking forward to coaching this group.”
The Wilmington High School boys golf team brings back four players form last season’s squad that finished fourth in the SBAAC American Division tournament.
Braydon Conley took home second team honors as a junior while Brady Leathley graduated after being second team as well.
Dylan Cole was the top WHS golfer in the post-season tournament with a 90 and a 12th place finish.
Zach Williams, who will be assisted by Jeremy Andrews, is in his second season as the Hurricane head coach. He said Conley has “taken a strong role as leader, he has the most experience on the course coming into his senior year.”
Williams said the squad this season is made up of a “great group of young men” who are enthusiastic about golf and willing to learn.
The coach, not surprisingly, said the Hurrricane can contend for the American crown if their play is consistent, they hit the ball straighter and farther than their opponents and make some putts.