SARANAC INN — For the second year in a row, Saranac Lake is both the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference and Section VII champion in golf.
The Red Storm battled the elements at the Saranac Inn Golf Club on Thursday and won the Section VII team title by 10 strokes over their nearest pursuers.
The team championship is decided by using the top four scores on each team and Saranac Lake finished with a 341 total.
Lake Placid, Northeastern Clinton and Peru all tied for second place at 351. Elizabethtown-Lewis was the top Mountain & Valley Athletic Conference finisher with a 373 total, good for sixth.
“I’m absolutely happy with how the team played,” Saranac Lake coach Chris Stevens said. “The best part of it has been how much the golfers have improved as the season has gone on.
“We knew it was going to be tough this year after losing three starters off last year’s team. But it’s good to win.”
Only one golfer in the field was able to break 80 on Thursday. Northeastern Clinton’s Nolan Reid put together an outstanding 79.
But Saranac Lake had four of its golfers finish in the top 14, including Dustin Fischer, who was second overall with an 82, Ethan Sawyer tied for third with an 84, Teddy Yanchitis with an 87, and Austin Ecret an 88.
“We knew we had a good chance at winning going into the season,” Fischer, a junior captain, said. “What has carried us is our depth — we have so much depth and it goes beyond our top six golfers.
“Even though we lost three starters from last year, the younger golfers have stepped up for us and anybody on our team is capable of leading the way.”
Fischer’s round was also impressive. He took a nine on the eighth hole and shot 45 on the front. He rebounded, however, with a 37 on the back for his 82.
“I had to fight and grind it out after I took the nine,” he said. “I just had to be patient on the back nine. If you would have told me that I would shoot a 45 on the front and end up with an 82, I would’ve taken it.
“Austin (Ecret) and Teddy (Yanchitis) did well and it was nice to win. Our top six golfers are very strong.”
Stevens had particular praise for Fischer and Sawyer.
“Dustin, after shooting a 45 on the front, didn’t give up and came back with a 37,” he said. “I’m also happy with Ethan. He said he didn’t play his best golf, but still came in with an 84.”
Rounding out the championship Saranac Lake team are Blake Gregory and Carly Sawyer.
Tied for third following Reid and Fischer are Ethan Sawyer, Elizabethtown-Lewis’ Connor Marvin and Lake Placid’s Kiefer Casler, who all carded 84s. Peru’s Jordan Guay is alone at 85.
Lake Placid’s Pat Kane and Peru’s Matt Nugent are at 86, while Lake Placid’s Lucas Strack, Saranac’s Austin LaDieu and Yanchitis are at 87.
Heavy rain hit the course when the first group was nearing the end to its round.
“It came down pretty good for a while,” Stevens said.
“Saranac Lake won by 10 strokes, but we had three teams tie for second,” AuSable Valley coach and Section VII golf chairman Chris Dubay said. “That shows you how close the league was this year.
“There were some good scores today, considering the weather, and it’s wide open going into tomorrow (today).
The top 30 golfers on Thursday were invited back today for the second and final round, which will determine the Section VII individual champion and the nine golfers who will make up the Section VII team which will compete at the state meet.
There will be eight groups teeing off today, with the first going off at 9 a.m.
Section VII Golf Championships
At Saranac Inn Golf Club
1, Saranac Lake, 341. 2, tie, Lake Placid, Northeastern Clinton, Peru, 351. 5, Saranac, 368. 6, Elizabethtown-Lewis, 373. 7, Plattsburgh, 383. 8, Moriah, 384. 9, AuSable Valley, 394. 10, tie, Beekmantown, Seton Catholic, 417. 12, Willsboro, 425. 13, Ticonderoga, 429. 14, Schroon Lake, 438. 15, Westport, inc.
79- Nolan Reid (NCCS)
82- Dustin Fischer (Saranac Lake)
84- Connor Marvin (Elizabethtown-Lewis); Kiefer Casler (Lake Placid); Ethan Sawyer (Saranac Lake)
85- Jordan Guay (Peru)
86- Pat Kane (Lake Placid); Matt Nugent (Peru)
87- Lucas Strack (Lake Placid); Austin LaDieu (Saranac); Teddy Yanchitis (Saranac Lake)
88- Nate Devins (AuSable Valley); Gavin Plimpton (Peru); Austin Ecret (Saranac Lake)
89- Zach Guay (NCCS); Nick Dodd (Plattsburgh)
90- Nick Lees (Saranac)
91- Alex Duffy (NCCS); Blake Gregory (Saranac Lake).
92- Dylan Scozzofava (Moriah); Chris Kokes (NCCS); Tyler Lemza (Peru); Alex Shaughnessy (Schroon Lake)
93- Jarett Wright (Saranac)
94- Cortland White (Elizabethtown-Lewis); Miles Lussi (Lake Placid); Ryan Kane (Lake Placid); Bjorn Kroes (Lake Placid); Christian Matilla (Peru); Dakoda Latford (Willsboro).
Today’s tee times
9 a.m.- Cortland White, Miles Lussi, Christian Matilla
9:10 a.m.- Jarett Wright, Dakoda Latford, Ryan Kane
9:20 a.m.- Tyler Lemza, Chris Kokes, Dylan Scozzofava, Bjorn Kroes
9:30 a.m.- Nick Lees, Alex Duffy, Blake Gregory, Alex Shaughnessy
9:40 a.m.- Austin Ecret, Gavin Plimpton, Zach Guay, Nick Dodd
9:50 a.m.- Matt Nugent, Lucas Strack, Teddy Yanchitis, Nate Devins
10 a.m.- Ethan Sawyer, Jordan Guay, Pat Kane, Austin LaDieu
10:10 a.m.- Nolan Reid, Dustin Fischer, Connor Marvin, Kiefer Casler