GALION — Playing in the state golf tournament has become an annual ritual for senior Max Longwell and junior Nick McMullen.
Both Longwell and McMullen make their third appearance on high school golf’s biggest stage when Galion tees it up Friday morning at NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury for the Division II state tournament.
It's Galion's fifth-consecutive state appearance. Longwell and McMullen were members of the last two state-qualifying teams.
“This is their third one playing,” Galion coach Bryce Lehman said. “They both know what to expect, although it’s difficult to simulate the pressure that comes with playing in a state tournament.”
McMullen shot a two-day total of 183 in 2019 when the Tigers placed sixth at NorthStar, good for a tie for 56th individually. Longwell carded a 193, good for 65th.
Last year, at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course, McMullen carded a 171 while Longwell shot a 178. Galion finished seventh.
“Those guys have some big tournament experience,” Lehman said. “For the other guys, this will be a new experience.”
Sophomore Logan Keller, freshman Nate McMillen and junior Nate Barre will be making their state tournament debuts Friday. Keller was an alternate last year.
While they are new to the state tournament, all three have played NorthStar. Galion traditionally plays in a regular season event at the course.
“We go to NorthStar every year for a tournament, so they’ve all seen the course,” Lehman said. “We are pretty familiar with it.”
Galion shot a 341 to finish second at last week’s district tournament at the Catawba Island Club in Port Clinton. The Tigers posted the highest score among the 12 state-qualifying teams.
“We’ve got some work to do, but we’ll make the most of it,” Lehman said. “We’ll try to represent the school and the area as best we can.”
While Galion is making its fifth consecutive state tournament appearance, the Colonel Crawford girls are playing at state for the first time ever. The Eagles took fourth at the Sycamore Springs district tournament, earning the final automatic qualifying spot.
Shelby’s Nicole Jones will be making her fourth appearance at state. Jones was the medalist at Sycamore Springs with a 74 and could find herself in state medalist contention Saturday afternoon. Jones was 10th last year with a two-day 153.
Mapleton’s Brock Durbin will tee it up at the boys Division III state tournament at OSU’s Scarlet Course. Durbin shot a 74 at Tannenhauf Golf Club in Alliance to qualify.