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Ellis wins at Smoky Hill

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

If the Ellis High School boys' golf team qualifies and performs at the Class 2A state championship like it did Monday at the Thomas More Prep-Marian Invitational, the Railroaders could take home some serious hardware, said senior Skyler Tebo.

Ellis won Monday with a score of 330 at Smoky Hill Country Club -- three strokes better than defending 3A state champion Goodland. Larned was third with 342, and TMP finished fifth with 348.

The Railers hadn't won a meet this year outside of their home meet, but Tebo said this was a more significant win since there was better competition.

With three weeks until the state tournament, Tebo hoped the Railers can maintain these types of performances down the final stretch.

"If we can play like this down at state, we'll have a good day," Tebo said.

Tebo finished second with a 77, tying Goodland junior Gage Ihrig, the defending 3A champion.

Though Tebo had a solid day, it was the bottom of the Railers' lineup that made the biggest difference. Ellis' No. 3 and 4 golfers, Tyler Walter and Ryan Downing, each carded 82s.

Senior Gage Younger didn't have his best day, shooting an 89, but his teammates did well enough the Railers won anyway.

"It was impressive," Tebo said. "I was just hoping everybody was going to break 90 today."

After placing fifth at state last year, Ellis has made itself a contender for a state title.

The defending 2A champion, Ellsworth, doesn't have a full team this season. Meanwhile, Ellis has improved and will host its 2A regional. Tebo expects stiff competition from Oberlin-Decatur Community at the regional and Prairie Village-Kansas City Christian at the state meet.

"Hopefully we can make a run," Tebo said.

Tebo was happy, but Ihrig wasn't.

Ihrig was disappointed with his performance, despite improving his score by two from when he played at Smoky Hill two weeks prior at Hays High's Bob Blazer Invitational.

"I just couldn't get into a rhythm," Ihrig said. "I made stupid mistakes. They were mental errors that I shouldn't make. I didn't think my way through the front nine like I should have. You kind of have to think your way around this place, and I didn't."

Goodland got 84s from Gage's twin, Gannon Ihrig, and senior Tanner Jones. Jones' brother, Thatcher, rounded out the team scoring with an 88.

"I'm searching. I feel like I'm close, but I'm not where I want to be," Gage Ihrig said. "Same with our squad, too. I think we are all close to shooting some good numbers. We are just not quite there yet. It's all about peaking at the right time."

After struggling at the start of the year, TMP progressively has gotten better.

The Monarchs didn't play as well Monday as they did when they won the Russell Invitational on Thursday, but TMP coach Bryan VonFeldt said his squad is getting better.

"We are getting there," VonFeldt said. "You take the same team from a few weeks ago, and we are nowhere near 348."

TMP got its top performance from brothers Kade and Max Megaffin, who each shot 85 and were just outside of placing.

Freshman Hayden Rohr, who won the Russell meet on Thursday with an 80, shot an 86 on Smoky Hill's course.

Lane Fisher rounded out the team scoring with a 92.

"It's nice to see us get more consistent, too," VonFeldt said. "When any one of those six guys up there can go and put up a good number for us, it helps a lot."

VonFeldt said his squad just needs to work on avoiding "big numbers" on holes.

"Those doubles and triples add up real fast," VonFeldt said. "We need to find a way to make bogey instead of taking those big numbers that add up so fast."

TMP is at Dodge City today.

TMP Invitational

Monday at Smoky Hill County Club

Team scores

Ellis 330, Goodland 333, Larned 342, Oberlin 346, TMP 348, WaKeeney-Trego 356, Norton 370, Phillipsburg 378, Colby 409, Hays High JV 414, Hays High JV2 443, Hoisington 451, TMP JV 497, TMP JV2 609.

Medalists

1. Reece, Larned, 76; 2. Tebo, Ellis, 77; 3. Gage Ihrig, Goodland, 77; 4. Ke. Brown, Oberlin, 80; 5. Ka. Brown, Oberlin, 81; 6. Staples, Trego, 81; 7. Downing, Ellis, 82; 8. Walter, Ellis, 82; 9. Conrad, Larned, 84; 10. Hoover, Phillipsburg, 84.

TMP performers

K. Megaffin 85, M. Megaffin 85, Rohr 86, Fisher 92, Schmidt 93, Stoecklein 97.

TMP JV

O'Connor 120, Hiemann 123, Toepfer 127, Hysten 127, Diehl 132, Schuckman 144, Mermis 150, Richmeier 152, Roth 163, Drees 163.

Hays High JV

Kreutzer 91, Pruter 99, Stieben 104, Chambers 109, Russell 110, Stiben 111, Prindle 113, Befort 115, Dinkel 120, Rohr 123.