by Scott Springer, Community Press
KENWOOD - They arrive in Columbus in the fall just as the buzzards return each spring to Hinckley, Ohio.
By finishing second to St. Xavier at the Division I district tournament at Weatherwax Oct. 9, coach Rick Bohne's Moeller High School golfers qualified for the state tournament for the 12th time in 13 years.
There was no second place this time.
After 28 years of coaching, Bohne was able to ride home in the van with a championship trophy as the Crusaders finished a gray day on Ohio State's Scarlet Course with a sunny smile. Over the weekend of Oct. 17-18, Moeller was nine strokes better than Columbus St. Charles and Upper Arlington.
A year ago, the Crusaders finished fifth overall. Four of Moeller's starting 2013 quintet returned in seniors Ben Sattler, Nick Gruber and Quinn Sullivan and junior Jake Fox.
Junior Michael O'Brien joined the march to Columbus this season.
On day one, Oct. 17, Moeller blitzed out early and held an 11-stroke lead. Sattler led the way with a 76, Gruber carded a 78, Sullivan and O'Brien 79 and Jake Fox checked in at 80.
Day two saw the Crusaders tie for the third-best tally, but finish on top overall. Sattler shot 78, Fox 79, Sullivan 83, Gruber 84 and O'Brien 85 in blustery conditions. Not bad considering the first hole started par, triple bogey, triple bogey, par, double bogey.
"I guess if you do it long enough, (you win)," Bohne said of Moeller's first golf title. "It's their accomplishment, not mine at all. It was fun to see their smiles."
Now, when he walks into the gym off Montgomery Road he will see "State Champion Golf 2014" in the rafters along with the 29 other state titles on display.
Last season, Moeller came out tight on day one of the tournament. On the second day, they had the second lowest score and Bohne said it became a springboard for 2014.
Going into weekend, Bohne's bangers and putters had a little "chip" on their shoulder anyway. Sure, they qualified for state, but it was slightly behind GCL-South rival St. Xavier.
"They lost the playoff in the district and they didn't feel good," Bohne said. "That's something I like about them."
He also likes not having to rely on one player. All of Moeller's starters have shot memorable rounds.
Those who don't shoot at all were on the course supporting the blue and gold. Some teams only bring five; Moeller brings a gallery. Several Crusader golfers joined the group who had adapted the mantra, "Why not us?" all season.
The title match was the grand finale for senior tri-captains Quinn Sullivan, Ben Sattler and Nick Gruber.
"Quinn (Sullivan) is going to finish in the top three or four in career average for Moeller golfers," Bohne said. "Ben (Sattler) just committed to Ohio University to play college golf and Nick (Gruber) has been a starter for us the last three years. They've been great captains and I'm going to miss them." [Read More]