All of the bridesmaid talk can stop now.
After placing second at the state boys golf championship two years ago and third last spring, Center Grove finally reached the mountaintop on Wednesday in dominating fashion, using a record-setting second round to secure the first title in program history at Prairie View Golf Club.
“We started the year ranked number one,” Center Grove coach Matt Rodman said, “(but) it was all about being ranked number one when it counts.”
The Trojans finished the 36-hole tourney with a team score of 573 (3 under par), the lowest total in state history. They finished 13 shots ahead of Carmel after beginning the second day six strokes behind.
Junior Noah Gillard led the way for the Trojans with a 6-under-par total of 72-66—138, good enough to win the individual state championship by two strokes. Classmate Sam Jean rebounded from a 77 on Tuesday, matching Gillard’s second-day 66 to finish third overall at 143.
Ethan Shepherd wound up with an even-par 144 to tie for fourth individually. The team’s lone senior was particularly happy to go out on a high note after the Trojans came up painfully short in the previous two seasons.
“It feels pretty great,” Shepherd said. “I couldn’t ask for much better.”
Trailing Carmel by eight shots after the first three holes of Wednesday’s round, the Trojans began chipping away at the deficit on holes 6 through 9. By the time everyone was through the 12th hole, Center Grove had the upper hand — and it continued to pull away.
“We were just playing one hole at a time,” Rodman said, “not to make the deficit look like it was something insurmountable, because with the group of kids that I have, I trust them anytime.”
Rodman’s trust was rewarded handsomely.