He just finished leading Kents Hill to the Class C golf championship. But Mitch Tarrio has another major goal in his sights.

The Augusta resident is the favorite to take home his second straight Class C individual championship as well, which will take place along with the A and B championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Tarrio fired a 2-under 70 last weekend at the team championships, six shots clear of Orono’s Franc Fowler and 10 in front of Fowler’s teammate, Zack Dill.

“You never know with golf. You could have a tough day and someone could have a great day,” Tarrio said. “I’ve got to go there and feel like I’ve got to play a solid round to beat everyone. It’s not going to be just handed to me.”

Kents Hill’s Mitch Tarrio waits to take a shot at the golf team state championships last Saturday at Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

Tarrio has shown he doesn’t need it to be. He qualified for the individual tournament with a 68 and was amongst the state’s best young players during the summer, making the cut at the Maine Amateur championship and finishing 24th.

He’s not giving himself the trophy yet. But he knows he’s the best bet.

“I definitely think I have a large advantage. I’ve been in this spot before,” he said. “I think if I go out there and I perform the way I have been playing, my score will be tough to catch. I feel like I’ve been on top of my game the past month, and I think it’s peaking right now.”

He said his approach will be the same. Why change what works?

“I played pretty conservative on my first few holes and ended up playing a little bit aggressive on the last few,” he said. “I’ve played that course many times. I know it like the back of my hand.”

Class A has the makings of a final shootout between two of the state’s top golfers in Mt. Ararat’s Caleb Manuel and Thornton Academy’s Armand Ouellette. They’ve been at their best late in the season; Manuel, the defending Class A champion, shot a 4-under 33 over nine holes at the KVAC shootout, then shot a course-record 63 at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference qualifier Oct. 1.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good chance, knowing what it takes to win,” Manuel said. “I know how low I can take it out there, and I just kind of have a gameplan (and) I don’t change up the gameplan at that golf course.”

Ouellette, however, beat him at the team championships with a 1-over 73 to Manuel’s 75, and the fourth-place finisher in Class A last year said that round just affirmed what he already knew about his chances.

“I’ve always had that kind of confidence in myself,” Ouellette said. “It does help to best him that one time, but I know he didn’t play his best. I’m sure he’s going to come out firing Saturday. I hope to play better too, so it should be a shootout.”

They’ll likely get a chance to go head to head, as the players with the best qualifying scores play together.

“I like that almost better, because you know where he’s at,” Manuel said. “There are still other kids in the field that can take it decently low … (but) it’s definitely an advantage to have one of the top competitors in my group so I know where he’s at and I know where I am with him.”

Ouellette agreed.

“I think it makes it more fun, and more enjoyable for me,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I shoot a really good score, somewhere in the high 60s, and then come into the clubhouse and see he’s beaten that by three strokes. That’s nice to be able to avoid that.”

Both players acknowledged that someone else could make a run at the title.

Mt. Ararat’s Caleb Manuel hits a shot during the state team golf championships last Saturday at Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Ph Buy this Photo

“(Caleb)’s the main threat, but it could be anybody, honestly,” Ouellette said. “It’s a one-day tournament, so it’s wide open.”

The team championships indicated a deep field. Ouellette was one of eight players to break 80, including Messalonskee’s Brad Condon, who played all season as the Eagles’ No. 2 player but then turned in a 4-over 76, the third-best score in Class A.

“If I want a chance to win, I’ve just got to stay focused throughout the day and have a good mindset going into it,” Condon said. “We’ve got nothing to lose, so I don’t feel any nerves going into these tournaments. I feel comfortable in all of these, and comfortable that I can put up a good score.”

In Class B, Tyler Rivers of team champion York had the best score at last week’s championships with a 76, followed by Freeport’s TJ Whelan and Leavitt’s Ruby Haylock (the favorite for the girls’ championship), both with 81s. York’s Jonathan Donovan shot an 82, followed by Cape Elizabeth’s Shepard Smith (85) and Medomak Valley’s Sean Sebrey and Waterville’s Brandon Bearce, both with 86s.

While Haylock is the favorite to win the girls title, Lindsay Cote of Nokomis and Jaycie Christopher of Skowhegan should contend as well.

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