By BRETT MARSHALL
SYRACUSE — Not even near-ideal weather conditons could keep Tamarisk Golf Course from offering a severe challenge to the Class 2A regional golfers who competed here on Monday.
But the best of the nine teams was the Meade Buffaloes, whose 331 just squeaked past Trego Community of WaKeeney by two shots (333). Elkhart's 336 was good enough for the third and final place to advance to the state tournament on May 21 at Spring Creek Golf Course in Seneca.
Damian Weatherman of Elkhart captured medalist honors with a 4-over-par 76 as just three golfers managed to break 80 on the demanding Tamarisk layout, despite a day which saw mild temperatures and hardly a breath of air.
For the Meade team, it was the second straight regional boys golf title for the Buffaloes, and coach Scott Moshier was a happy camper as he held the regional first-place plaque.
"Our kids played very well and I think our kids understand how much of a mental game it is," Moshier said. "They certainly understand it better than they did on Friday (a 368 and sixth-place finish at the Hi-Plains League tournament at Buffalo Dunes). This is where we saw team play."
Meade's scoring was paced by Austin Jansonius, who carded a 78 to finish second individually. Adrian Pfanenstiel followed with an 83, while Mark Finster and Morgan Davis each shot an 85.
"There was no excuse for playing poorly today because there was just a lack of wind and not much heat," Moshier said.
It's a young team that Moshier will take to Spring Creek as Pfanenstiel is the lone senior. For a school that has produced elite state-level teams in football, basketball and track and field, Moshier is happy to have his golf team reaching that same level.
"You know, we had 26 kids come out for golf this year and the school found a way for us to hire an assistant," Moshier said. "That speaks highly of our administration and board leadership. My hats off to the school for concentrating on giving these kids a chance to compete."
For host Syracuse coach Rick Mathias, the fourth-place finish marked the end of a disappointing season. Yet, the veteran Bulldog coach loses only one senior and he was a non-factor for Mathias on Monday, shooting a non-counting 93.
The 11-shot differential to Elkhart's 336 was not lost on Mathias.
"We shoot much better scores when we practice so I know we're capable of better," Mathias said.
But Mathias will take two individuals — sophomore Tierney Cashler and freshman Cameron Coleman — to the state tournament. It will be Cashler's second straight year to qualify as one of the medalists.
"That's huge to be able to get the two young kids to state," Mathias said. "We obviously wanted to get the entire team to state because it's a totally different tournament when you take everybody. But I'm pleased to get those two, but not pleased with our finish. I felt like we would do better."
Stanton County, which had been one of the favorites as well coming into the postseason, struggled and finished fifth at 352, winning the fifth player tiebreaker with Ness City.
The Trojans' Seth Holliday earned the eighth-place medalist and a spot in the state tourney with an 83. The other area individual qualifier was Justin Kiser of Wichita County with an 81 after coming back with a 1-over-par 37 on the incoming nine.
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.