PIQUA — The Covington boys golf team returned a veteran group and has not disappointed.
The Bethel boys have been the Buccs strongest challenger in the TRC.
And when the two teams met at Echo Hills Tuesday, the Buccs needed a win to avoid dropping into a share of first.
Covington was up to the challenge in a 153-161 win over Bethel on the front nine.
“I felt like if we put 40 guys in the 30s, we were going to be in good shape,” Covington coach Bill Wise said. “What I didn’t know is that Bethel was going to put three guys in the 30s.”
Covington is now 12-0 in the TRC with matches remaining with Milton-Union and Miami East before next week’s league tournament at Echo Hills.
The Buccs were undefeated in the TRC a year ago and are defending champs.
“We still have two tough matches remaining,” Wise said. “I like the fact we are playing well at this time of the season.”
Bethel is now 11-3 overall and 10-2 in the TRC.
“We have another tough match with Lehman coming up,” Bethel coach Ed Quincel said. “When I took over in July, I wasn’t real sure what we had, but I knew we had some guys who worked hard on their games all summer like Mike (Halleg) and Joshua (Fiery).”
Sam Grabeman led the way for a very consistent Covington team.
Grabeman birdied seven and nine to finish with a one-over par 37 to share medalist honors in the match with Logan Norris of Bethel.
“Sam was a little down (in the middle of the round),” Wise said. “He just needed a little pep talk. He cane through for us and really played well.”
Matt Dieperink had a birdie on the eighth hole and shot a 38, while Cameron Haines was one-under par through six after birdies on holes one and three and shot 39, that was matched by Bryson Hite.
Brodie Manson had 42 and Connor Humphrey added a 46.
“Cameron (Haines) was really playing well,” Wise said. “Matt (Dieperink) and Bryson (Hite) both had good rounds.”
Norris birdie both par-5s to shoot his best round of the season and Fiery used a birdie on the third hole to shoot a 38, his best score of the season.
Halleg finished with a birdie on the par-5 ninth, rolling in a 30-foot putt for a 39.
“Logan (Norris) and Josh (Fiery) both had PRs,” Quincel said. “Mike (Halleg) was solid. Our fourth man wasn’t here. He was sick and never made it to school. We knew we were going to have to play well. Covington is just a really good team. There is no doubt about that.”
Ethan Tallmadge had a 47, Ben Sonnanstine added a 48 and Thanapat Phungphaophan had a 52.
Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at [email protected]