Lebanon golf takes fifth at NHIAA Division III championship

  • Lebanon golfer Roy Shapard hits his approach shot on the fifth hole at the D-III Golf Championship at the Laconia Country Club on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Concord Monitor photos — GEOFF FORESTER

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/13/2021 5:37:04 PM
Modified: 10/13/2021 11:00:12 PM

LACONIA, N.H. — Stevens High senior Reeve Wilkinson finished fourth on the individual leaderboard in Tuesday’s NHIAA Division III golf championship at Laconia Country Club.

Wilkinson shot a 5-over-par 77. With the strong performance, he qualified for Saturday’s individual championship at Beaver Meadow Golf Course in Concord.

Cardinals head coach Ryan Seaver said Wilkinson has had a tough season, both on and off the course, which made this performance even more satisfying.

He was extremely happy for the senior.

“I’ve never seen him play the way he did today. He had such a good game plan,” Seaver said. “I had Reeve as an elementary school student. To see him do what he did today was probably one of the most proud moments (I’ve had) as a coach.”

Stevens had just two golfers competing, so the Cardinals were not eligible in the team competition.

Meanwhile, Lebanon High finished fifth, shooting a combined 58 over par. Bow High earned the state title by shooting 33 over.

For Lebanon head coach Matt Doncasse, this was a learning experience for his squad.

Lebanon enjoyed a strong year, with a 19-1 regular season record. Doncasse thinks this experience at states will set up his team for next year.

“Today’s just going to help motivate them for down the road,” Doncasse said. “I think this will be the building block to lean into next year. So when we get to the spring, I can talk about the fact that we didn’t come into the place we wanted to at states, but we’re right on the edge. And we have the skill to do it. Now we’ve got to put it together.”

Junior Roy Shapard led the way for Lebanon in states, shooting an 8-over 80. He tied for eighth on the individual leaderboard, and he’ll join Wilkinson at the individual championship.

Shapard said he needed to work hard Tuesday to earn his score but was pleased with his performance.

“I’m happy to make individuals,” Shapard said. “The past couple years I missed out, just through playing poorly. So I felt a lot of pressure to do well for the team because we’ve been playing so well, and to really play well for myself and show myself I could play well on a big stage.”

Junior Alex Blish shot 12 over par. That score put him in a three-way tie for 20th, resulting in a tiebreaker playoff hole for individual championship qualification. Blish shot a par on the playoff hole, but Hopkinton’s Evan Fairney made a birdie to advance.

Blish saw room for improvement in his round but still thought he performed well. He was pleased with his season as a whole as well. He felt he improved from his sophomore year and has things to build on from this season. He has high hopes for his senior season, both individually and for his team.

“It was a lot of fun being a part of this team,” Blish said. “I think we can do even better (next year). I think we can come in and win a state championship next year. We have a lot of young players that can improve.”

Lebanon freshman Ben Britton and senior Nate Stark each shot 19-over 91s.

Doncasse said Britton will be a key contributor for the Raiders down the road. He touted his team’s youth as a whole as he looks forward. Lebanon will lose two seniors, but Doncasse likes the crop of young players he has to step into their roles.

“I’m very pleased with our season,” Doncasse said. “Going into the year, I didn’t know what to expect. I think a lot of our young kids really stepped up.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.

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