A year’s worth of fretting ends: Ryle wins Region 7 boys golf team title over CovCath

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For nearly a year, Ryle’s boys golf team thought of little else.

The Raiders watched St. Henry and Covington Catholic finish 1-2 in last season’s Region 7 tournament and win automatic semi-state berths.

The fretting ended Monday at Boone Links Golf Course. Ryle’s quartet of Tanner Lorms, Paxton McKelvey, Jake Roscoe and Palmer McKelvey edged CovCath by five shots, 311-316.

“Pretty much all these guys returned from last year,” Ryle coach Austin Zapp said. “That one stung last year. The kids decided it was one of two things – you could either give up in the winter and not play and practice, or we could work our butts off and try our hardest.”

Zapp said Roscoe’s five-over 77 was the most impressive because Roscoe has only been playing golf for about a year.

“Once I started playing, I fell in love with it,” Roscoe said.

The Raiders and Colonels advance to next Monday’s semi-state at Kenton County’s Willows course.

CovCath coach Alex Ammerman of course would’ve liked to have won the team title – he tried to treat Monday like any other match – but he had greater goals in mind.

“It was one of our goals going into the season … is winning region,” Ammerman said. “But outside of actually surviving and advancing, I think the schedule we play, we would challenge ourselves, really, as much as we possibly can throughout the year.”

From left, Covington Catholic’s Avery Stanley, Ben Pieper, Ben Unkraut, Mitchel Gastright and Jacob Thomas. Photo provided | Ray Schaefer

CovCath’s Mitchell Gastright was medalist – his even-par 72 was one shot better than St. Henry’s Ben Carter’s 73. Paxton McKelvey was third with a 74.

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What Ammerman liked about Gastright: his maturity.

“Hitting smart golf shots, not freaking out when you make a big number, hitting smart golf shots when you need to,” Ammerman said.

Gastright said his short-iron game and chipping were the strongest parts of Monday’s round.

“Getting up and down was a big part of it,” Gastright said. “Figuring out how to get it within five feet and making the putt.”

Gastright had three birdies. His favorite: the 513-yard, par 5, fifth hole because he hit the green in two shots and had a 10-foot putt for an eagle – he said he missed a little right.

Paxton McKelvey saved his best golf for last – he was two-under par over the final three holes. He said he was cautious over the entire round.

“I’m pretty happy,” he said.

St. Henry finished third with a 328, followed by Villa Madonna and Beechwood.

The rest of the top 10 individuals: CovCath’s Ben Unkraut with a 76; Roscoe and Lorms at 77; Will Carter of St. Henry at 78; Villa Madonna’s Tyler Brandstetter at 80; and Logan Robinson of Simon Kenton, Adam Brandstetter of Villa Madonna, Chase O’Keefe of Scott, Luke Pieper of CovCath and Adam Gutman of Walton-Verona at 82.

The Carters, the Brandstetters, Robinson, O’Keefe, Gutman, Beechwood’s Hugo King, Quinn Thomas of Villa Madonna and Parker Isaacs of St. Henry qualify for semi-state as individuals not on qualifying teams. Dixie Heights’ Jack Woolwine is the alternate.

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