When COVID-19 forced the Nebraska School Activities Association to cancel the 2020 spring sports season, dreams of competing for a state title in a lot of sports, including boys golf, were dashed.
That included the Grand Island Central Catholic boys golf team’s attempt to compete for its fifth state title in six years.
But several members of the Oakland Golf Club got together and came up with a plan, hoping to host a tournament in the summer for the best teams and players in Class C. That will take place Monday and Tuesday.
The team and individual competition will be similar to the NSAA tournament that was not able to occur this past spring, but it won’t be an NSAA event.
“It’s a great idea and I’m sure the kids are very excited about it,” GICC coach Craig Rupp said. “It was unfortunate to see all the spring sports get called off. I felt bad for the seniors and I’m glad Oakland got the manpower to put this together. Hopefully it will be a good event.”
The committee formed contacted the top 15 teams and the 20 individuals from the 2019 NSAA state golf meet and shared their idea for the summer tournament. They also asked the high school coaches along with golf pros across the state for names of top individuals who should be invited.
GICC and Doniphan-Trumbull will be two of the nine teams that will take part in the event. Along with those teams, individual golfers from seven other schools will be competing.
Rupp said he didn’t hesitate when the Crusaders were invited.
“I was onboard with this and the kids were excited about it,” Rupp said. “It’s a great way for our two seniors (Eli Fox and Colby Setlik) to finish their careers.”
Fox and Will Goering will be the Crusaders’ only returning golfers from last year’s state meet, which went only one day due to weather.
Fox, whose putt on the final hole gave GICC its fourth title in five years, finished in the three-way tie for second with a 76. Oakland-Craig’s Ian Lundquist and Hartington Cedar Catholic’s Riley Kuehn tied with Fox. Lundquist will be golfing at the event as well.
Goering finished in a three-way tie for 19th with an 85.
Setlik, along with Bowdie Fox and Jackson Henry, will be the other golfers participating.
Rupp said he’s glad the two seniors — Fox and Setlik — will get a chance to play for GICC one last time.
“Eli and Colby have done a lot for us. Eli has had a lot of success and Colby has been with the program since he was a sixth grader when he was a student manager,” Rupp said. “He was behind a lot of great players in the past but he’s put his time in and played in a lot of tournaments. He, along with everyone else on the team, will represent GICC very well.”
Doniphan-Trumbull’s Griffin Hendricks is the lone returning state medalist for the Cardinals. He finished tied for ninth with an 81.
Rupp said Oakland-Craig and Wahoo Neumann should be a few of the teams along with GICC which will be competing for the title.
Rupp said even though it won’t feel the same as a regular state meet held at the end of May, he’s just happy that something is happening.
“I’m just glad that we get a chance to compete,” Rupp said. “We’ll see how it goes. We’re going to approach it like either tournament we go to. We just want to see where we are at. We’re hoping to have two good days. I’m sure it will be a fun two days for the kids.”
There were be medals handed out to the top 10 golfers as well as team trophies to the top two teams.
Tee times begin at 11 a.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday.