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October 12, 2002

Relaxed Preppers in lead at state

From: Cleveland Plain Dealer, OH
Oct. 12, 2002

Pat Galbincea
Plain Dealer Reporter

Columbus- Most golfers know that a good swing and tension are a bad mix.

It also best explains why University School is leading the Boys Division II State Golf Tournament by four strokes heading into today's final round on the Ohio State University Scarlet Course.

The tension-free Preppers, with low rounds from juniors Lance "Putter" Johnson (75), J.D. Redeker (77) and Jeff Heisler (79), shot 313.

Sunbury Big Walnut is second at 317, and 2000 state champion Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin is tied for third with Hillsboro at 319.

Johnson's 3-over-par round also ties him with NDCL senior John Zaller and Zanesville Maysville senior Kyle Coconis for the lead in the medalist race.

Redeker, whose 77 included a 1-under 35 on the rougher back nine, is in a group of five with the next lowest score. Berkshire freshman David Ludlow is also in the medalist race with a 78.

Gilmour Academy is seventh in the 12-team field in Division III, and Lancers junior Mike Trivisonno is tied for ninth in the medalist race after a 2-over 72 yesterday on the shorter OSU Gray Course. Defending state medalist Jason Kokrak of Warren John F. Kennedy leads the field after a blistering 67.

Johnson, who played on the Preppers' state runner-up squad to NDCL two years ago, looked a lot less nervous than he was as a freshman.

"Two years ago, we came down here tense," said Johnson. "There's really no pressure on us, so I decided to smile and enjoy the moment.

"I feel confident for [today]. I have a strong team behind me. Jeff and J.R. played really well, and our other two golfers, [juniors] Brian Bolwell [90 yesterday] and Nik Trikha [82], can break 75 on any day."

Redeker, the tallest golfer in the field at 6-6, hit a wrong ball on the 408-yard par-4 third hole and had a take a two-stroke penalty. Despite the error, he was upbeat.

"I felt no butterflies for my first time down here," Redeker said. "Even after my mistake on the third hole, I kept things together. This course is a great fit for me. I hit the ball long, and I can putt it well."

Redeker's sister, Katie, was the girls state runner-up in 1999.

NDCL coach Craig Adams said the Lions also are in strong title contention despite off days from No. 1 golfer and senior Brian Dietzel (80) and juniors Joe Ribelli (84) and Frank Rossi (86). Phil Beitel, a sophomore, shot a respectable 80.

"We didn't play well, but we sure didn't hurt ourselves, either," Adams said.

Zaller said the Lions are known for strong finishes. "I think we're right where we want to be," Zaller said. "We're in good shape as a team. I shot a good round by playing conservatively."

Trivisonno said he would have to play smart and aggressive golf to place high at state. Putts spun out of the hole three of his last four holes.

"Hopefully, those putts fall in [today]," Trivisonno said. "I could have shot a lot lower, at least five strokes lower."

Lancers teammate Brian Poe, a sophomore, shot 78.

"We're still a maturing team," said Gilmour coach Ray Sharnsky, who guided the Lancers to state titles from 1991 to 1994.

One of the best stories in Division III is Chris Robertson, a junior from Rittman who qualified from the Northeast district. He is hearing impaired and shot an even-par 70. He was cheered on by relatives from Lakewood.

"My hearing aid went dead in the middle of the round," said Robertson. "That actually helped me focus better. I didn't hear the other golfers' comments."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4677

© 2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.