The Westminster Christian Academy boys golf team won their first district championship since 2013.
The Wildcats won the Class 3 District 3 meet at Franklin County Country Club. Westminster finished with a 315. Priory, the reigning state champions and fellow Metro League member, were second at 316.
Westminster coach Brian Burkey believed in his team.
“Coming into the season I had a lot of high hopes as I knew we had a lot of talent,” Burkey said. “During the season we have experienced some disappointment in not necessarily having great success in matches so to experience success in the biggest tournament up to this point in the season was very exciting.”
Burkey’s squad was ready for the District 3 meet.
“We struggled some during the season where some guys would play well and others struggled we just had not been able to put it all together until the last week of the season when we started playing some of our best golf,” Burkey said. “Coming into districts, we had a little bit of confidence from the week before and we had hope knowing we had a lot of potential and if guys played their best we might have a chance.”
The course presented the field a good challenge.
“Franklin County Country Club is a great test of golf,” Burkey said. “Nobody lucks into a good score on that course.”
His Wildcats played to their ability at district, Burkey said.
“The guys pretty much shot around their averages for the season,” Burkey said. “Our lowest score was a 77 but our highest score was an 82, which I believe shows some of our depth and how the guys are pretty even with one another as well.”
Getting past Priory was a big accomplishment, Burkey said. Priory also won the Metro League tournament earlier this spring.
“Priory has had such a strong team for a number of years now. I have been waiting for all their great players to graduate but they just keep replacing them with more great players,” Burkey said. “I know they were dealing with some injuries throughout the season so that gave a team like us an opening.
“They beat us during the regular season pretty good and then our second match got rained out but we knew coming into districts that Priory and Borgia were both the teams to beat. It’s nice for the guys to win districts but it does it add to the victory knowing we got by last year’s state champions.”
Freshman Jack Wooldridge was fifth overall. Wooldridge finished with a 5-over 77.
“Jack Wooldridge has been a steady player all year,” Burkey said. “Nothing seems to phase him as evidenced by him going into districts and shooting the low score for our team. The great thing is Jack did not have the round of his life. He played like he is capable and came through to lead our team and shoot a great round.”
Tied for seventh place were junior captain Lane Davis and sophomore Cole Willyard at 78.
“Lane Davis has had a great year for us, placing third in the conference tournament and leading our team in stroke average so for him to shoot a 78 was not a surprise at all. I kept checking in on him throughout the round and knew I had nothing to worry about because he always has shown up in the big tournaments.”
Junior Ben Parres and freshman Luke Burkey tied at 15th with an 82.
“It was great to see Ben shoot a solid round as he has a great game but has been up and down and struggled some throughout the season and even during his district round,” Burkey said. “So for him to grind out the 82 was great to see.”
Seeing his son play well in the district left Burkey feeling proud.
“Luke is my son and the other freshman golfer in our top five. I have been looking forward to having him on the team for a while but I get extra nervous having to coach my son in golf,” Burkey said. “I have joked with my assistant coach that I am not sure how I am going to make it through to when Luke is a senior. Numerous times during the season and even at districts I have to have our assistant coach Rex Janssen go and talk to Luke during the round because Luke starts going back and forth with me as his dad on the course and not listening to me as the coach.”
Earning that first district title in six years was a good feeling, Burkey said.
“This is no disrespect to any other district but as I look up and down the list of great teams we have to play against, I honestly believe we have one of the toughest districts,” Burkey said. “So to come away with our first district title since 2013 especially since coming in we knew this was not a lock and I am sure we surprised a number of teams.”