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  • Val T.

Riffle shot: Senior shoots 72, helps Rochester finish 2nd at sectional

Rans, Reyes become first Pioneer regional qualifiers in 12 years


Sports Editor, RTC

The Rochester boys golf team shot a season-best 312 and finished second at the Logansport sectional at Dykeman Park Golf Course Friday to advance to the regional. From left – Noah Riffle, Isaac Heishman, J.R. McLochlin, Davis Renie, Ashton Musselman. Rochester will next play at the Lake Central regional at Sandy Pines Golf Club in DeMotte at 9 a.m. Eastern Thursday.

LOGANSPORT — The irons were kind to Rochester senior golfer Noah Riffle Friday.

Riffle relied on an accurate iron play and putting to shoot a team-low 72 and help Rochetster finish in second place at the Logansport sectional at Dykeman Park Golf Course Friday.

By finishing second, Rochester advances to the Lake Central regional at Sandy Pines Golf in DeMotte Thursday.

Twin Lakes shot a 300 to win the sectional for the fourth straight year. Rochester (312) and Logansport (316) finished second and third, respectively, out of 12 teams and also advanced.

Rensselaer’s Brayden Mushett (76) and the Pioneer duo of Micah Rans (78) and Ivan Reyes (81) had the three lowest scores of players on non-advancing teams, and they also advanced.

The top three teams and top three individuals on non-advancing teams advanced to the Lake Central regional, which Sandy Pines Golf Club in DeMotte will host at 9 a.m. Eastern Thursday.

“With the teams where they were this year, I felt like something would have to go tragically wrong to not make it out,” Rochester coach Mason Heyde said. “But we played so well. A 312 is a great score. I’m really proud of the guys. Everyone had a few holes that kind of got them, and they overcame that and played pretty well. So a 312 is an awesome score.”

Pioneer’s Ivan Reyes, left, and Micah Rans finished in the top three among players on non-advancing teams at the Logansport sectional Friday to advance to regional. Rans, a sophomore, shot a 78. Reyes, a freshman, carded an 81. They are the first Pioneer players to advance to regional since 2012.

Rans and Reyes became the first Pioneer players to advance to the regional since Carter Skaggs in 2012. Skaggs, Mitchell Williams (2011), Ty Shrontz (2009) and Kyle Bender (2000 and 2001) are the only other Pioneer players to advance to the regional in the last 25 years.

As a team, Pioneer, which has no seniors, shot a 350 and finished fourth. Other Pioneer scorers included Brady Price’s 93, Tayt Smith’s 98 and Cole Franklin’s 99.

Meanwhile, Winamac took sixth with a 377. Brendan Hines shot an 83, Talen Garner had a 92, Logan Fredel had a 94, Cooper Fulmer had a 108, and Noah Garner had a 111.

Caston placed 10th with a 413. Lucas Graham was the low Comet with an 87, Max Sommers had a 99, Jace Rentschler had a 110, Corbin Smith had a 110, and Gage Thomas had a 124.

Twin Lakes’ Leo Dellinger was the medalist for the second straight year with a 71. Riffle finished in a three-way tie for second with Twin Lakes’ Jamison Ousley and Logansport’s Graham Taylor, his two playing partners.

Riffle birdied No. 3 but had four straight bogeys on the front nine on Nos. 5-8 and finished the front with a 37. On the back nine, he threw darts at the pin.

He went for the green in two on the par-5 11th but landed in a front bunker but recovered within three feet and made a birdie putt. On No. 14, he hit his tee shot well right, but stuck his second shot from right of the fairway within two feet for birdie. He made a 20-footer for birdie on the par-3 16th to get back to even-par for his round before he bogeyed No. 17. He chunked his third shot on No. 18, but another accurate chip and one putt saved par.

His 72 tied a career high school best for 18 holes.

“Noah was cooking,” Heyde said.

McLochlin advanced to the regional for the fourth time. He also made it as part of the team in 2021 and 2023 and as an individual in 2022. His round included birdies on Nos. 8 and 18.

“Fourth time’s a charm,” McLochlin said. “It feels pretty good. Ready to finally do something good at Sandy Pines.”

McLochlin said the course lacks hazards or deep rough. As a result, he could take more risks.

“You can easily hit the ball 300 (yards) and have no problems,” McLochlin said. “I played this course pretty aggressively today. And I mean, some holes worked out, and some didn’t, but for the most part, I’d say you can play this course aggressively.”

Heishman, a freshman, saved his lone birdie for the par-5 18th. His scorecard also included six pars and was a new high school 18-hole best.

Renie, playing in his first sectional, had a birdie on No. 14, and his score was a personal best for an 18-hole competitive round.

Musselman also had a personal best for 18 holes. His round included six pars. He said he used his hybrid club and his 5-iron on the long par-3s on the course. He also described his short game as “really good,” putting his chips within one to two feet of the cup.

Heyde picked Musselman, a sophomore, over two seniors – Robert Bozzo and Enrique Navarro – for the No. 5 spot on the conference and sectional teams. He missed making the all-Three Rivers Conference team by one stroke after shooting an 89 Tuesday, and he kept that spot for the sectional.

“After Tuesday, I think I was for sure,” Musselman said of securing his spot on the team. “I seemed to play pretty well, and then I had a for-sure shot at going. But just before that, it was a close battle between me, Enrique, Robert and Davis between who was going and who was staying. … I was really excited, but I kind of felt bad because we were leaving our two seniors behind. I’m sure they wanted to play sectionals one more time.”

Heyde said club selection in general is key when playing Dykeman Park’s six par-3s, four of which are at least 200 yards in length.

“Hole three is short, but other than that, hole six is real long,” Heyde said. “Nine’s not too bad, but some of my younger kids especially, they’re hitting some long clubs into the par-3s. If they can hit a green, great. Hopefully, they can get a par, but a bogey’s not bad there.”

Rochester also finished second at the TRC tournament at Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru Tuesday, but they shot a 338 there.

Heyde was asked how they shaved 26 strokes off their team score in three days.

“Well, this is an easier course,” Heyde said. “It’s a par 70 versus a par 72. It plays a lot shorter. They hung in there and did not let the bad holes affect their round. They bounced back pretty quick.”

As for Pioneer, Rans birdied Nos. 2, 7 and 11. Both Nos. 7 and 11 are par-5s.

“Micah’s been playing since he was a little kid,” Pioneer coach Kyle Rans said. “He’s a pretty athletic kid. He loves golf. He likes football. He likes basketball. Overall, he’s just a pretty athletic kid.”

Reyes, who was the Hoosier North medalist at Round Barn Golf Club at Mill Creek on May 18, also birdied No. 7.

Coach Rans told an anecdote about Reyes, a freshman, to explain his dedication to the game.

“He’s been playing golf since he’s been a little kid,” coach Rans said. “Quick story on him: I saw him a couple years ago. It was Christmastime, and he was out in his front yard, and he cut a square of snow out of the way, and I drove by his house and saw him hitting in the snow on a patch. So he loves golf. He’s out here all the time. That’s his passion.”

Winamac’s score was 10 strokes higher than its conference winning score at Mill Creek. Hines had a triple bogey on No. 7 but nothing worse than a bogey the rest of the round. He finished two strokes behind Reyes for the final individual spot. Winamac has not advanced to regional since 2019.

This was Caston’s first sectional under new coach Jeremy Rentschler. Graham’s round included eight pars.

at Dykeman Park Golf Course, Logansport, Friday (par 70)

Twin Lakes 300, ROCHESTER 312, Logansport 316, PIONEER 350, Rensselaer 361, WINAMAC 377, Tri-County 391, North Newton 403, Frontier 409, CASTON 413, West Central 487, South Newton 529

TWIN LAKES (300): Dellinger 71, Ousley 72, Kaufmann 77, Kyser 80, (Woodley 84)

ROCHESTER (312): Noah Riffle (37-35) 72, J.R. McLochlin (38-41) 78, Isaac Heishman (39-41) 80, Davis Renie (40-42) 82, (Ashton Musselman (43-41) 84)

LOGANSPORT (316): Taylor 72, Rozzi 78, Baldwin 82, Brandstatter 84, (Lange 87)

PIONEER (350): Micah Rans (38-40) 78, Ivan Reyes (37-44) 81, Brady Price (47-46) 93, Tayt Smith (47-51) 98, (Cole Franklin (48-51) 99)

RENSSELAER (361): Mushett 76, Drone 82, Armold 99, VanMeter 104, (Lapsley 104)

WINAMAC (377): Brendan Hines (43-40) 83, Talen Garner (48-44) 92, Logan Fredel (47-47) 94, Cooper Fulmer (55-53) 108, (Noah Garner (55-56) 111)

TRI-COUNTY (391): Dreblow 84, Misch 95, Northrup 103, Aldez 109, (Orns 115)

NORTH NEWTON (403): G. Mark 95, Johnson 98, Lacosse 105, Mathis 105, (D. Mark 123)

FRONTIER (409): Greer 87, Pekny 91, Govert 114, Alfano 117, (Whitaker 125)

CASTON (413): Lucas Graham (46-41) 87, Max Sommers (48-51) 99, Jace Rentschler (54-56) 110, Corbin Smith (56-61) 117, (Gage Thomas (59-65) 124)

WEST CENTRAL (487): Coffing 104, Muston 122, Lynch 130, Stimson 131

SOUTH NEWTON (529): Alexander 126, Hamilton 129, Bivins 135, Lockhart 139

Top three individuals on non-advancing teams: 1. Brayden Mushett (Rensselaer) – 76, 2. Micah Rans (Pioneer) – 78, 3. Ivan Reyes (Pioneer) – 81

Medalist: Leo Dellinger (Twin Lakes) – 71

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