VASSALBORO — The Mt. Ararat golf team is showing that there’s not much rebuilding that goes on in Topsham.

Reloading, however, is a different story.

After losing the state’s best player in Caleb Manuel to graduation, the Eagles reminded any doubters that they’re still the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference’s team to beat, getting a 2-over 74 from medalist Parker Bate and a 77 from Eli Schoenberg en route to a team total of 321 and the KVAC A championship.

Mt. Ararat, the two-time defending KVAC A and state champions, finished 17 shots clear of Messalonskee (338), while Edward Little (345) also qualified for Saturday’s state championships. Cony (348) and Brunswick (352) rounded out the top five.

Jaycie Christopher and Riley Fitzpatrick, both of Skowhegan, also qualified for the girls tournament with a 91 and 93, respectively

“We pretty much came into the season trying not to lose anything at all,” said Bate, a sophomore. “Just show everyone (that) without Caleb, we’re still there. We’re just trying to win everything we play in at this point.”


There was a repeat winner in KVAC B as well, as Leavitt got 79s from Ruby Haylock and Billy Visconti and an 81 from Morghan Dutil to roll to defend its title with a 327, well in front of Waterville (350), Belfast (373), Oceanside (374) and Gardiner (374), all of whom qualified for the Class B championships.

“I personally would rather win team states than individual states,” said Haylock, the Women’s Am champion this summer. “I like everyone else to be happy, I don’t need to be the only one. And I love it when my teammates do well.”

In Class A, Mt. Ararat got a victory that was not supposed to be the formality it was last year with Manuel leading the way. But when tournament day came, once again, the Eagles were hot.

“It’s a great accomplishment anytime you can win the KVACs,” coach Gerry Caron said. “If you can walk away from that tournament winning it, it definitely helps you momentum-wise going into the states.”

The Eagles got the low score from Bate, who was shaky off the tee but on target with an approach game that kept him always in position for par.

Leavitt’s Ruby Haylock watches a putt during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships Tuesday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“My short game was pretty good overall,” said Bate, who notched four birdies on Natanis’s Arrowhead course. “I didn’t make any bombs, but I didn’t miss anything inside eight feet, really, all day.”


Then Schoenberg came in with his round, and when Ty Henke followed with an 81, it was apparent the Eagles were going to be hard to catch. Sam Betts rounded out the scorers with an 89.

“I was hitting a lot of greens today. I just couldn’t get the putter going, I had a lot of putts I should have made,” said Schoenberg, who eagled the short par-4 ninth. “My main goal was just find every fairway, keep it in play. This course is pretty easy if you don’t make it hard.”

Messalonskee took second, led by a 77 from Sam Seekins that was tied for the second-lowest round of the day. James Smith added an 86, Jude Lilly had an 87 and Mitch Grant had an 88.

“I came out here for a practice round and shot 75, so I was feeling pretty confident,” Seekins said. “My driver, I didn’t have one bad drive. If I could putt, I could have been way lower. I had about four three-putts.”

Class B was a runaway as well. In Haylock, Visconti and Dutil, Leavitt had the three lowest scorers in the entire field.

“I didn’t expect a score like that. I knew that Morghan and Ruby obviously are the great leaders, but man,” coach Harry Haylock said. “They really pushed the whole team to perform to their maximum capacity.”


That included Noah Carpenter, an erstwhile football player who shot 88 in his first tournament to round out the Hornets’ scorers.

“That’s absolutely fantastic,” coach Haylock said. “It’s such a tight team. … Coming into today, I knew that we would do well because of Morghan and Ruby. But on the bus, we talked about going out and doing your absolute best, and focusing on every shot.”

While Leavitt played near its peak, Waterville came out flatter than coach Khristian Clement expected. The Purple Panthers got 85s from Brandon Bearce and Pete Sack, an 87 from Lindsay Cote and a 93 from Owen Evans, but Clement said that he’s confident he’ll see a bounce-back effort Saturday that will lead to a closer battle between the teams.

“That’s how I felt all year,” he said. “It depends on who has the better day between us. I feel that we’re fairly even, if you take all five of our golfers overall. I think that we can score as well as them if we play well. … We are happy that we’re going to get another chance.”

Gardiner punched its ticket to states by getting an 89 from Drew Kelley, a 90 from Owen Doyle, a 92 from Darien Jamison and a 103 from Andrew Walker. Other locals in Class B making the individual tournament included MCI’s Owen Moore (85) and Erskine’s Kate Bourdon (93).

Cony’s Bobby Stolt finished fourth among Class A golfers with an 80 and qualified for the individual championship, as did teammates Quincy Tobias (86) and Kyle Douin (87). Lewiston’s Parker Thibault and Bryce Dufour qualified with an 81 and 88, respectively, and Brunswick’s Spencer Marquis (85) and Austin Stromick (87) also made the cut. All players on qualifying teams made the cut for the individuals.

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