Golf Tigers conclude pre-district play with triple dual

As reported to LCL

MOBERLY — Taking one last tour of the course which will be the site of next Monday’s (weather permitting) state-qualifying Class 1 district tournament, Marceline High School’s golf Tigers ended up splitting what became a double-dual match on the Heritage Hills Golf Course.

Led by Will Heller’s 9-holes score of 41 and with all five varsity-lineup members coming in with a 47 or better, the Tigers rang up a 175 team score, only three shy of host Westran after finishing the equivalent of about 22 strokes back of the Hornets in the Lewis and Clark Conference Tournament eight days earlier.

Not far behind Heller in scoring last Friday was Jacob Stallo, who fired a 43. Braden Lichtenberg produced a 45 out of the No. 5 slot in the lineup and Hunter Nelson’s 46 rounded out the team-scoring quartet.

Not used was a solid 47 by Jace Bixenman.

Defeated by the Tigers were Paris’ Coyotes, who shot a 217.

Cairo had only three entries, so it couldn’t compete in team competition.

While Marceline’s team score in comparison with L&C champ Westran is encouraging, it is irrelevant to this year’s postseason competition to a degree.

With adjustments made to limit the number of players and schools competing in the state tournament, as a precaution against unnecessary potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus, the Missouri State High School Activities Association adjusted both its fall girls’ postseason and spring boys’ competition.

Whereas formerly each district advanced a certain number of players and at least two teams to a state-qualifying sectional tournament, from which again a predetermined number of scores and teams earned the right to play at state, this year, while there is team-championship competition at district in addition to the individual advancement component, the only assured qualification for state is for players shooting among the best 18 scores of the 18-holes tournament at Moberly.

Those 18 (including all participants sharing the 18th-best round) will go on to the state tournament at the Fremont Hills Golf Course at Nixa the following Monday and Tuesday, May 17-18.

However, if any particular school advances four or all five players to state individually, it will be eligible for state team competition, as well.

That creates a possible, if relatively unlikely, scenario in which anywhere from only two or three schools to zero might be involved in competing for a state team crown. In Class 1 girls’ competition last fall, LCL readers might recall, Brookfield advanced four players to the state tourney and was one of only two such schools doing so. That led to BHS bringing home a state-runner team trophy.

Given the balance in its lineup and relative quality of their play, Marceline conceivably could approach both reaching that 4-qualifiers threshold and also challenging for the district team title.