Behind four top-10 finishes, Valparaiso’s return to varsity golf started on a positive note as the Crusaders wrapped up their first tournament on Wednesday afternoon with a second place finish at the Saint Joseph’s College Championships, played at Plymouth Country Club in Plymouth, Ind.
“Overall I think this has been a positive experience,” head coach Mike Higdon said afterwards. “I thought we had set ourselves up in a good position to make a charge today, but it just didn't happen.”
Valpo shot 302 (+22) for the second straight day to finish at 604 for the event (+44), placing 10 strokes behind champion Lewis. The Crusaders entered the final round seven strokes off of the lead. Bethel (Ind.) finished third at 607.
Mike Hesselman (Janesville, Wis./Edgerton H.S.) led the way for the Crusaders, shooting 74 in round two for a two-round total of 146 (+6) on the par-70 layout. Hesselman finished third overall, four strokes behind Lewis’ Paul Dagys who won the event.
Josh Kalita (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) finished fifth overall with a 76 on Wednesday for a two-round total of 149 while Austin Gaugert (Lake Geneva, Wis./Badger H.S.) matched Hesselman’s low round of the day for the Crusaders, shooting 74 for a total of 150 to tie for sixth.
Adam Gray (Portland, Ind./Jay County H.S.) also earned a top-10 finish for the Brown and Gold, carding a 76 for the second straight day to place ninth at 152. Gray was playing as an individual though, and did not count towards the team’s score.
“We can take a lot of positives moving forward, but we don't have much time to think about this tournament as we are set to start the Division 1 campaign in less than a week,” Higdon added. “It was great to see three of our guys in the top six and I think that is positive to build off of moving forward.”
Valparaiso will return to the course on Monday morning as the Crusaders head to the John Piper Intercollegiate Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio. The event, hosted by Bowling Green State University, will be held at Stone Ridge Golf Course beginning at 7 a.m. CDT both Monday and Tuesday. Teams will play 36 holes on Monday with the final 18-hold round contested on Tuesday.