KEARNEY — Battle Creek's quest for the school's first-ever state golf title came up just one stroke short Wednesday.
The Braves finished at 325 in the shortened tournament while heavily favored Grand Island Central Catholic came in at 324 to capture the Class C state title at the Meadowlark Hills Golf Course here.
Individually, Northeast Nebraska golfers were led by Oakland-Craig's Ian Lundquist and Hartington Cedar Catholic's Riley Kuehn, who tied for second place.
Heavy rains Tuesday shortened the tournament from a two-day, 36-hole event, to a one day, 18-hole, winner-take-all contest.
Grand Island Central Catholic led Battle Creek by three shots after nine holes, but the Braves — all playing earlier tee times than their GICC counterparts — kept the pressure on by playing well on the back nine.
“It was pretty windy throughout the day and it was pretty cold this morning, and we had some early tee times,” Battle Creek coach Toby Thompson said. “We probably had about an hour wait for when their (GICC's) last kid came in.”
The team title came down to Central Catholic's No. 1, Eli Fox.
Playing in the final group, Fox faced a four-foot bogey putt. Make it and his team would win the team title. Miss it and the Crusaders and Braves would have to decide the state championship with a team playoff.
Fox's putt found the right edge of the hole. It appeared as if it might lip out, but in the end, the ball sank to the bottom of the hole for the bogey and team title for GICC. Oakland-Craig finished in a distant third with 349.
Fox fired a round of 76 to tie Lundquist and Kuehn for for second, two shots behind individual state champ Preston Carbaugh of Cambridge.
Lundquist got out of the gate quickly by shooting a 37 on the front nine. “I started off with a birdie on two and I ended up birdieing number nine,” he said. “I struggled on the first three holes on the back and bogeyed 13 and 14 and then finished with two pars.”
Kuehn said he played about as well as he could have for the first 15 holes. “I got up and down a lot more than I expected I was going to. Everything went well and I enjoyed it,” he said.
Kuehn's approach shot from about 70 yards on 18 bounced in front of the green, rolled straight for the pin, then did a half-circle around the edge of the hole before lipping out. “I didn't know where it was going to end up, but I thought 'That looks pretty good,' so see what happens,” he said.
Battle Creek's depth was on display as four Braves earned medals by placing in the top 15. Luke Stueve led the way with an eight-over-par 79.
He said it was a matter of focus. “Coach Thompson just tells me to breathe in and breathe out on the first tee and if you shoot bad, just forget about it and go onto the next hole,” Stueve said.
The Battle Creek junior said his putter got him out of a jam on the 14th. “I sank a good 40-footer to save bogey because I lost my first ball,” he said.
Ty Heimes finished in eighth with an 80, Caydon McCracken tied for 11th at 82 and Gavin Tegeler tied for 15th after carding an 84.
“Ty and Caydon, they've been pretty solid all year. Two good seniors, it's going to be tough losing those two,” Thompson said.
Norfolk Catholic's lone state qualifier, junior Eric Anderson earned a medal by tying for 13th place in the field of 95 golfers with an 83.
“I didn't hit the driver very well, but I feel I hit my irons pretty good,” Anderson said. “I set myself in some good spots and was able to make a lot of putts.”
Two other area athletes finished in the top 15. Hooper Logan View's Jake Hagerbaumer tied for fifth with a 77 and Andrew Franzluebbers of Guardian Angels Central Catholic was part of a four-way tie for 15th with an 84.
CLASS C STATE GOLF
Grand Island Central Catholic 324
Battle Creek 325
Lincoln Christian 354
Johnson County Central 363
Kearney Catholic 367
David City 372
Hartington Cedar Catholic 376
Lincoln Lutheran 377
Perkins County 409
TOP 15 INDIDUALS AND AREA GOLFERS
1. Preston Carbaugh, Cambridge, 74
T2. Eli Fox, Grand Island Central Catholc,76
T2. Ian Lundquist, Oakland-Craig, 76
T2. Riley Kuehn, Hartington Cedar Catholic, 76
T5. Jack Goering, Grand Island Central Catholic, 77
T5. Jake Hagerbaumer, Logan View, 77
7. Luke Stueve, Battle Creek, 79
8. Ty Heimes, Battle Creek, 80
T9. Griffin Hendricks, Doniphan-Trumbull, 81
T9. Will Elgert, Yutan, 81
T11. Caydon McCracken, Battle Creek, 82
T11. Jacob Woodmancy, Perkins County,82
T13. Eric Anderson, Norfolk Catholic, 83
T13. Drake DeMasters, Bridgeport, 83
T15. Andrew Franzluebbers, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, 84
T15. Colbi Smith, South Loup, 84
T15. Gavin Tegeler, Battle Creek, 84
T15. Kyle Luebbe, Lincoln Lutheran, 84
T19. Rockney Peck, Wisner-Pilger, 85
T22. Devon Darnell, BRLD, 86
T25. Thomas Maline, Oakland-Craig, 87
T34. Colton Thomsen,Oakland-Craig, 89
T34. Arizona Riecken, BRLD, 89
T34. Payton Frederick, Battle Creek,89
T39. Cole Richards, Ponca, 90
T43. Dillion Muirhead, Valentine, 92
T50. Ted Bengston, Hartington Cedar Catholic, 95
T54. Ryan O'Kief, Valentine, 96
T60. Gunnar Ray, Oakland-Craig, 97
T64. Bradon Anderson, Boone Central, 98
T67. Aidan Nelson, BRLD, 99
T67. Jared Mulder, Oakland-Craig, 99
70. Nolan Klug,Hartington Cedar Catholic, 100
T71. Layne Miller, BRLD,101
T74. Logan Cate, Valentine, 102
T80. Connor Dahl, Crofton, 105
T80. Mack Kuehn, Hartington Cedar Catholic, 105
T82. Mason Schaefer, Hartington Cedar Catholic 106
T87. Grant Fischer, Valentine, 111
91. Jaydon Owen, Valentine, 113
93. Parker Paulson, BRLD, 115