HUXLEY — Gilbert edged out defending Class 3A state team champion Creston/Orient-Macksburg and Ballard in a tight race for the team championship here Tuesday at the Ballard Invitational Tournament.
The top three teams were separated by just 10 strokes, with Gilbert beating out Creston/O-M for the top spot, 320-322. Ballard finished third with a team score of 332, followed by Nevada at 356.
“There was no four-peat championship of the Ballard Invitational Tournament for the Creston/O-M boys at The Harvester,” Creston/O-M assistant coach Kristopher “Kritter” Hayes said. “Gilbert played much better golf from top to bottom than we did today, and we tip our hats to them.”
Panther senior Carson Whittington shot 2-over par 74 to earn medalist honors for the Panthers. Hunter Sickels finished in fourth place with his round of 79, while Christian Groumoutis placed ninth with a round of 82.
Coleton Hoepker rounded out the team scoring for the Panthers, shooting an 87.
“The Harvester will punch you straight in the mouth if you give it the chance to,” Hayes said. “We gave it plenty of chances to do just that. It was a great learning experience for our team. It takes courage to overcome adversity. Good thing is, they have two more chances this week to do that when they play Thursday at Pine Valley and Friday at Crestmoor.”
Gilbert’s Garret Jenson took runner-up honors with his round of 76. Nash Bucher of Ballard finished third, shooting a round of 78.
The Panthers return to action at home Thursday Pine Valley against Southwest Valley and then host Clarke on Friday at Crestmoor.
Team standings — 1. Gilbert 320, 2. Creston/O-M 322, 3. Ballard 332, 4. Nevada 356.
Creston/O-M (322) — Carson Whittington 74, Hunter Sickels 79, Christian Groumoutis 82, Coleton Hoepker 87, Sam Hartsock 92, Maxx Walters 97, Kyle Somers 103, Evan Nielsen 105.
Medalist — Carson Whittington, Creston/O-M, 74. Runner-up — Garret Jenson, Gilbert, 76.