ONTARIO — Ryan Chapman is back and better than ever, which is music to Ontario golf coach Jake Stimpert’s ears.
Led by Chapman, the Warriors finished third at last week’s Division II sectional tournament at Woussickett Golf Course in Sandusky. Ontario carded a 349 to earn the third and final qualifying spot to Thursday’s district tournament at the Catawba Island Club in Port Clinton.
A returning state qualifier, Chapman shot a 79 at Woussickett. He was one of five players to tie for medalist runner-up honors behind Clyde’s Josh Swartz (78).
That Chapman is back on the course is a testament to the senior’s perseverance. He suffered an arm injury while playing baseball over the summer and was sidelined for roughly the first half of the season.
“A guy ran into him when he was playing baseball and he dislocated his elbow,” Stimpert said. “In his first match back, he shot a 38. He never missed a beat.”
Chapman burst onto the scene last fall, placing third at the sectional at Thunderbird Hills before tying for fourth at the district tournament at the Findlay Country Club. His 81 at Findlay was the lowest among players not on a state-qualifying team, earning him an individual berth to the Division II state tournament, where he tied for 58th with a two-day total of 180.
“The way Ryan and Charlie Danuloff help the younger guys is huge for us,” Stimpert said. “Those guys talk to our younger guys about how to prepare and what clubs to use and how to approach each shot. They really help us out with the fundamental stuff.”
A sophomore, Danuloff shot an 80 at Woussickett last week. Junior Jordan Reed and sophomore Hunter McCarthey carded 95s while Robbee Mangan shot a 105.
Ontario last qualified for the district tournament in 2017, finishing sixth. Shelby, meanwhile, is making its second consecutive appearance at the district tournament after finishing second behind five-time defending sectional champ Galion at Woussickett last week. The Whippets carded a 329, just five strokes behind Galion.
Shelby finished sixth at last year’s district tournament at Findlay with a 375. Coach Justin Schroeder said expectations have changed since last October.
“We didn’t end the regular season the way we wanted. We lost at Clear Fork and then didn’t have our best showing at the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference tournament,” Schroeder said. “It was nice to bounce back from that at Woussickett.
“We’ve really had great depth all year. Our No. 5 man, Ty Keinath, shot a 79 at the sectional. That is going to serve us well going into districts.”
Brody Miller backed Keinath with an 82. Carson Brubaker carded an 83, while Will Magers shot an 85 and Ashton Hoffbauer had an 89.
The top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team will advance to next week’s Division II state tournament at NorthStar Golf Course in Sunbury.
“We fully expect to put ourselves in a position to get to state,” Schroeder said. “Hopefully we can get everyone peaking at the same time.
“Our guys are focused and hungry and ready to go compete the best they can.”