The way Winthrop golf coach Lonney Steeves sees it, the top four teams in the Mountain Valley Conference are separated by a whisker or two.

“Any of them could beat anybody,” he said. “It will be interesting to see which one will come out on top.”

Steeves and the rest of the MVC will find out today at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, site of the conference championship.

Winthrop and defending champ St. Dominic will play the front nine at 10 a.m. in the first MVC semifinal match. Top-seed Wiscasset and No. 4 Madison will compete in the other semifinal.

The two winners will then play the back nine in the afternoon for the MVC title. The conference champ will receive an automatic berth to the state championships.

Team and individual qualifying for the MVC will be held Wednesday, also at Natanis.

“With the winner (today) qualifying for states, there’s a little more on the line,” said Madison coach Heath Cowan, whose team edged Wiscasset earlier this season. “If we could pull this out, it would just be individual qualifying for us on Wednesday.”

Winthrop defeated St. Dom’s 5-2 earlier this season, although the teams were separated by a mere six strokes.

Taylor Morang, who’s lost just one match this year at No. 1, Adam Hachey and Anthony Owens lead the Ramblers. Hachey went undefeated in the regular season.

“Those three guys have been tough,” Steeves said. “This is gong to be very, very close. It’s going to be interesting to see who wins this.”

Madison, meanwhile, will look for big days from Ty Cowan, Jared Miller, Tripp Libby and K.P. Carpenter. Broc Campbell and Logan Smith round out the top six.

“Our top four/five guys can all shoot in the mid-40s,” Heath Cowan said. “Hopefully, we can get a guy to go into the 30s.”

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The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference will hold team and individual qualifying Tuesday at Natanis, beginning at 10 a.m.

Messalonskee, which went 8-3 in the regular season, hopes to be one of five KVAC A teams that will qualify for the Class A team state championship Saturday at Natanis.

“We’ve played well at times and have been trying to work on our consistency,” Messalonskee coach Jim Kerschner said. “If we can stay consistent, we’ll be OK. We’re just hoping the kids stay focused.”

Bangor, Brunswick and Skowhegan should be in the mix for a team title Tuesday as well. The KVAC A championship will be held on the Tomahawk course.

“We stand a decent chance to qualify as a team,” Kerschner said. “We have two or three individuals who have a good shot at qualifying as well.”

KVAC A will send the top 15 golfers, plus ties, to the individual state championship Saturday.

Sophomore Billy Rollins plays at No. 1 for the Eagles and is shooting in the low-80s. Kerschner said he thinks the cutoff will be about 84 or 85.

Kalib Bernatchez and Brenden Bouchard also are in the mix to qualify.

“We’ve been through this before,” Kerschner said. “We’ll see how it all goes. It only takes one blowup hole to take yourself out.”

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Maine Central Institute coach Paul Greco can’t help but look ahead to the Class B team state championship Saturday at Natanis.

“We have to get there, obviously, so Tuesday is important,” he said, “but we should qualify. We have a really good team this year.”

Led by junior Gavin Dugas, whose average is 36.5, the Huskies are expected to challenge Camden Hills for the KVAC B title Tuesday at Natanis.

KVAC B teams will tee off on the Arrowhead course beginning at 10 a.m.

Carter Pearl, Eric Dugas, Trevor Kitchin and Dylan Waltrous round out the top five for MCI.

“We look pretty good,” Greco said. “I think it will be us against Camden. I think we’ll be one of the top five teams to qualify. My guys are ready.”

Gavin Dugas has qualified for the individual state championship in each of the last two seasons.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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