By JIM ELLIOTT
WHEELING - Madonna's Nick Mazur, a No. 4 player for most of the season, grabbed the attention of Coach T.J. Brancazio by shooting a 75 during a recent practice round at Oglebay's Crispin Course as the team warmed up for Tuesday's OVAC Class 1A and 2A Championships.
Madonna’s Michael Rogers watches a putt during Tuesday’s OVAC Class 1A championship at Oglebay.
Photo by Jim Elliott
Brancazio then showed a little faith in Mazur by moving him up to the No. 2 spot for the tournament. And Mazur rewarded Brancazio by shooting 72 and winning medalist honors as the Blue Dons ran away with the Class 1A title with a team total of 297, 49 shots ahead of second-place Connotton Valley (346).
It was the Blue Dons' fourth straight OVAC crown and fifth in school history.
Mazur sprinkled in four birdies around five bogeys to shot a 1-over-par and tie for the low round of the day, regardless of class.
''I hit everything really solid and I putted lights out - except on a couple holes,'' Mazur said.
It's been a quick ascension of late for the Madonna sophomore.
''I had been playing pretty badly,'' he said. ''Then the other day we came up here and I shot 75. Then (Tuesday), I shot 1-over. So I'm coming on a streak now.''
So dominant were the Blue Dons in this one, Thomas Gianni's 77 didn't count on his team's score (they take the top four) but it was good enough for a tie for fifth overall with the Rockets' Trey Yosick and a spot on the all-tournament team. All five Madonna players' names - Michael Rogers (74), Alex Colantonia (75), and Matthew Lyons (76) - can be found on that list.
''I think we're on a roll,'' Mazur said. ''I think we might have a shot at winning states.''
Rogers' 74 made him the runner-up for the second consecutive year.
''They had a great day,'' Brancazio said. ''They had a great practice round down here the other day. The kids have been working really hard all year long. They just keep getting better.
''Usually, we get a couple in the 70s, couple in the 80s. I think this course plays a little bit easier, but to shoot those scores is still phenomenal. You're talking a couple over par for almost the whole team.''
Trinity finished third with a 352, one stroke ahead of fourth-place Bishop Donahue.
Behind a 74 from Thomas Stanley, Wheeling Central won the Class 2A title, the Maroon Knights' first crown since the 2009-10 school year, with a 308. Defending champion Steubenville Catholic, which received a medalist-winning 72 from Austin Meronoff, shot a 313 and was five strokes back.
Wheeling Central, which won four straight OVAC golf titles from 2004-08, had three scores in the 70s as Justin Leonard (76), John Haley (77) and Freddie Fitzsimmons (81) combined with Stanley to put the Knights back on top.
Jason Bensur helped the Crusaders with a 77, while both Mike Manfresca and Nick Ivkovich finished with 82s.
Shadyside finished third at 320 behind a 73 from runner-up medalist Adam Stupak (73) and all-tourney team member Nathan Edgar (75). Other members of the Class 2A all-tourney team were Leonard, John Michael Romey of Toronto (70) an Bridgeport's Jonathan Kreiter (76).