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GCA Boys Golf seeks to innovate

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Greenwood Christian’s playoff success in men’s golf last season isn’t the program’s ultimate ceiling.

Gary Hamilton considers it the ground floor.

The Cougars’ fourth-year coach presides over a roster of seven players — including four starters in the Cougars’ first-ever regional qualifier — eager to use the rest of the regular season to prepare for another run at the state meet. .

“Being a school of 162 kids, we don’t get a lot of notice,” said Hamilton, whose 2021 team placed third at the Franklin Sectional and eighth at the Providence Regional. “But being a small school doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be rewarded for it.”

Hamilton is right not to be noticed; GCA is nowhere to be found in the state’s top 20. Not this week, last week or any other week.

If Greenwood Christian needed extra rocket fuel for the weeks ahead, well, this is it.

“We definitely want to be up there and get that recognition, but we know how good we are and what we’re capable of,” said junior Ian Reed, one of the team’s top two players with the senior Sutton Piercefield. “We knew four of our five guys would come back, but you’re trying not to get comfortable.

“Having a program like (defending state champion) Center Grove so close, it lets us know that we’re not where we want to be, who the best team in the state is.”

Piercefield and Reed lead this year’s field, which includes two other playoff retainers in sophomore Coen Bauschek and junior Parker Satre. Senior Noah Cottingim, soph Jonathan Reasoner and rookie Noah Reed also considered what the Cougars are accomplishing this spring.

“Everyone has played in games at some point,” Hamilton said. “We don’t have a fixed composition. This way I can see how different players handle different situations.

“I was pleasantly surprised that they all understand what the big picture is and what the expectations are.”

The expectation is to return to regional, but this time be among the three lowest-rated teams and earn a trip to the state.

A strengthened regular season schedule helps.

The Cougars earned their first invitation to the Trojan Classic at Hickory Stick and finished fifth out of 18 participating teams with a score of 331. GCA also took fifth in an invitation to Martinsville on Saturday.

Unlike the majority of its opponents, the Greenwood Christian Boys golf program is relatively new, being in its 13th year.

However, his gradual rise has been impressive, from putting just three players on the course in 2010, to setting up a full playoff roster for the first time in 2014, to the team of last year which became regional.

If the Cougars break ground in June with a trip to Prairie View Golf Course in Carmel, no top-20 finish will be necessary.

The whole state will know it.

“We have a long way to go, but it’s on our radar,” Hamilton said. “We have to be better on bad weather days in the spring and find a way to score on every hole.”