WINONA LAKE — For the first time in school history, NorthWood is going to the IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals.
The Panthers fired a 305 Thursday, June 12, to top the 18-team field at the Warsaw Regional at Stonehenge Golf Club and earned a spot in the State Finals Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17-18, at the Legends Golf Club in Franklin.
Fort Wayne Dwenger (308) and Homestead (310) also advanced as teams. The top five individuals also moved on to State.
Led by junior Alec Dutkowski's 33, NorthWood teed off the back nine first Thursday and shot a 144.
Senior Brayden Glaser (73) wound up as the Panthers' leading scorer while Dutkowski and senior Logan Kauffman both shot 75.
Junior Matt Ely added an 82 and sophomore Hayden Klotz carded an 83.
The lineup combined to shoot par on the vaunted, water-lined No. 11 hole (rated among the hardest on the course).
"We got off to a great start," said NorthWood coach Brad Duerksen. "When you can throw out an 83 at regional, that's pretty phenomenal.
"It's a good time to play our best golf."
A year ago, NorthWood missed out on the State Finals by five strokes. This time, they were steady enough to advance.
"We faced adversity and we handled it well," said Panthers assistant coach Brady Klotz.
Northridge (315) finished just outside the qualifying teams. Other area squads were Marian (316), Penn (321) and Fairfield (338).
Marian’s Michael Makris (72) will return to State as an individual.
"We just didn't all play well together when we needed to," said Northridge coach Dennis Sienicki. "That happens sometimes."
There was a two-way tie for low medalist, won by Glenn's Tyler Prentkowski. A five-way playoff to determine the fifth-place individual was won by Peru's Cameron Smith (Northridge's Tom Morrison was among the four non-advancers that also shot 73). Only the top five not on the three advancing teams moved on.
Concord coach Larry Bilger announced after Peyton Kime (79) was eliminated as an individual that he is retiring after seven seasons as Minutemen coach and more than 50 years as a coach in many sports.
Team scores (Top 3 to State Finals): NorthWood 305, FW Dwenger 308, Homestead 310, Northridge 315, Columbia City 316, Leo 316, Marian 316, FW Canterbury 318, FW Carroll 320, Warsaw 320, Penn 321, Kokomo 326, Culver Academy 331, Western 332, East Noble 334, Fairfield 338, Peru 344, Glenn 352.
Medalist: Tyler Prentkowski (Glenn).
Advancing individuals: Tyler Prentkowski (Glenn) 71 (won playoff), Michael Brothers (Canterbury) 71, Nick Bienz (Heritage) 72, Michael Makris (Marian) 72, Cameron Smith (Peru) 73 (won playoff).
NorthWood — Alec Dutkowski 75, Brayden Glaser 73, Logan Kauffman 75, Matt Ely 82, Hayden Klotz 83.
Dwenger — Spencer Gillig 77, Patrick Allgeier 78, Callahan Elzehy 78, John Hope 78, James Wagner 75.
Homestead — Chris Eigner 80, Nick Myers 78, Alec Cunningham 76, Ellis Yoder 76, Eric Martin 84.
Northridge — Will Erekson 77, Tom Morrison 73, Luke Morrison 82, Austen Schmidt 89, Corbin Bullock 83.
Marian — Michael Makris 72, Augie Hartnagel 83, Kyle Killilea 79, Jonathan Wallisch 90, Cameron Trippel 82.
Penn — Justin Holt 80, Nick Thurin 81, Richard Jung 84, Blake Harman 84, Ryan Walsh 76.
Fairfield — John Stack 85, Dustin Layne 85, Andrew Fritchley 80, Tyler Hostetler 90, Andrew Hoover 88.
Area individuals: Jeffery Moore (Wawasee) 84, Michael Foy (Elkhart Memorial) 77, Peyton Kime (Concord) 79, Broc Maurer (Jimtown) 84.
Next: Qualifiiers in IHSAA State Finals (The Legends, Franklin) Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17-18.