If it had been a horse race, Bob Rachko would have been a 100-to-1 long shot reaching the winner s circle.
Instead, it was the City League golf tournament at Ottawa Park, and the St. Francis de Sales junior virtually came out of nowhere to win individual medal honors (81-73 154) and rally the Knights to a three-shot win over St. John s Jesuit for the team title.
It was the second straight CL tournament crown for the Knights, who last year ended St. John s run of four straight league golf titles.
Obviously to do this two years in a row is very gratifying, Knights coach Dick Nowak said. The kids played well, they worked hard all summer, and the league is getting tougher. There are four or five teams that are pretty much even.
Everybody always chases St. John s. We were just fortunate enough to catch them the past couple years.
The Titans had won 19 of 20 City golf championships between 1985-2004, and appeared ready to reclaim their hold on first place after posting a first-round score of 316 Tuesday at Detwiler. The Titans took a five-shot lead over St. Francis into yesterday s second round.
But, with Rachko carding a 2-over 73 yesterday his lowest career round by three strokes the Knights rallied to edge St. John s by three shots, 627-630, in the 36-hole tourney.
Rachko birdied Nos. 7 and 8, and had four bogeys.
Everything was just falling today, Rachko said. I had a birdie putt onalmost every single hole, even on my bogey holes. I ve always known I could do this, I just never put two nines together like this. My irons were on the money every time, my drives were decent and my putting got me through the day.
Central Catholic was third in the team standings at 323-321 644, Whitmer placed fourth at 333-318 651, and Clay was fifth at 339-332 671.
Tying for second place individually at 156 were St. Francis senior Andrew Geiger and St. John s Alan Kolovich.
Other top individuals were Central s Joe Baranek (157), and Bowsher s Kyle Lynch, St. John s Aaron Koonce, and St. Francis Dan Kramer, all at 158.
Rounding out the top 10 were Nick Oswald of St. Francis and Nate Anderson of St. John s at 159, and Joe Kontak of St. John s at 160.
Oddly enough, Rachko couldn t claim bragging rights among his St. Francis teammates after his best round ever. That s because Knight junior Mike McKernan, the Knights usual No. 8 player, was designated in the CL tournament as a junior varsity competitor. He topped everyone with his 73-78 151.
Nowak could have opted to putMcKernan into the six-player varsity lineup for the second round but stuck with his original six.
The shame of it was I didn t use him and that he won t be recognized, Nowak said of his decision.