It has already been a year of firsts for the Northview boys golf team and, come tomorrow and Saturday in Columbus, the Wildcats are hoping for one more.
Under first-year head coach Mike Czerniakowski, the Cats rolled through their Northern Lakes League dual-match schedule with a 7-0 record, then won the NLL tournament at Sylvania Country Club.
After qualifying out of sectional competition as the No. 2 team, Northview placed second at the Division I northwest district tournament last Thursday at Red Hawk Run in Findlay, qualifying for its first trip to the state championship tournament.
The Wildcat lineup includes seniors David Treece and Pat Ducey, juniors Ben Treece and Tim Hurst, and sophomore Chase Yacko.
"I'm still sort of overwhelmed," Czerniakowski said. "I've been real busy with planning and paperwork and getting things organized. I don't think it'll sink in with me until we tee off [tomorrow].
"As for the team, they are loose and they're ready to play. They're just awesome kids who are good students and nice people."
Northview will play a practice round this afternoon at the Ohio State University's Scarlet Course before competing there in the 36-hole state competition tomorrow and Saturday. Play both days begins at 8:30 a.m.
The Cats will compete with Upper Arlington, Columbus Watterson, New Philadelphia, Hudson, Strongsville, Mentor, Lakewood St. Edward, Fremont Ross, Cincinnati St. Xavier, Cincinnati Moeller and Hamilton high schools in the 12-team state field.
Although his team had the highest qualfying score (320) coming out of the four district sites, Czerniakowski thinks that his team has the potential to compete for the title.
"I'm an old football and basketball coach, and things are a little different in golf," Czerniakowski said. "There are 11 other teams. But if we play as well as we're capable of, we could win a state championship.
"Our low team score of the season was a 294. And, if you take our players' top four individual rounds, that would be a 285. The best team over 36 holes these two days will win."
At sectionals, Ducey shot 78, David Treece 80, Ben Treece 82 and Hurst 83. At districts, David Treece shot 76, Ben Treece and Hurst 81 each, and Ducey 82.
"My goals were to win the NLL and to get to state as a team," David Treece said. "To get there now as a team means I have reached my goal. I definitely knew we had the potential to not only get there, but to do well. We've got a good combination of experience and youth."
For the season, David Treece and Ducey have played nearly dead even, each posting a nine-hole average of 38. Ben Treece has averaged 40.8, Yacko 41.2 and Hurst 41.7.
David Treece's season-low score was a 69 at Bowling Green State University, Ducey's was a 71 at South Toledo, Ben Treece's was a 72 at Eagles Landing, and Hurst's was a 73 at Spuyten Duyvel, where Yacko also shot his low of 75.
"The key to our team is that we play together all year, and we know each other really well," Ducey said. "So, when we're out there playing, it's not like a competition [with each other], we're just out having fun with our friends."
Junior Ali Monazahian has been in the varsity lineup throughout the year, and figured into the winning NLL tournament scoring, but he did not make the lineup for state tourney play.
Czerniakowski, who coached Northview's girls golf team the previous two years, knows something about placing first in state competition. He was a member of St. Francis de Sales' 1983 Class AAA state basketball championship team.