JIM HUNSLEY: Loss offers DAC golf perspective

2012-05-02T18:00:00Z JIM HUNSLEY: Loss offers DAC golf perspectiveBy Jim Hunsley Times Columnist nwitimes.com
May 02, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

Tuesday's results from a Duneland Athletic Conference boys golf match at Palmira left me shaking my head.

Times No. 4 Lake Central lit up its home course with a 152 to edge top-ranked Valparaiso (153) and No. 2 LaPorte (156).

If you look at the rankings, it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch, but I firmly thought the Vikings and Slicers were -- without a doubt -- the top two teams in the league. Both returned a majority of their lineups from last year's state finals appearances.

Lake Central stuck close with LaPorte in two previous competitions, trailing the Slicers for second by five strokes at the Marquette Invitational on April 14 and falling by three for the top spot at a quadrangular on April 16. The signs might have been there.

But the win over the Vikings, is even-more shocking.

Just two weeks ago, I wrote how impressive the Vikings were -- and proclaimed they would advance to the state finals. In three previous meeting this season with the Indians, the Vikings won by 20, 28 and 24 strokes, respectively.

I asked Valparaiso coach Wayne Lichtenberger if Tuesday's outcome would be considered an upset.

"Yes and no," he responded.

Huh?

"Our 153 is a good score, but give (Lake Central) credit," Lichtenberger said. "They came to play, and their No. 4 (medalist Mike Barenie) shot lights out (with an even-par 35).

"The Duneland can be a rough place to play. Most people don't think about our conference when it comes to golf. ... If you look at the last 15 or 20 years and see how our conference has done at the state level in golf, I'm sure you will see how good we have become."

Turns out Lichtenberger wasn't trying to make an excuse. Over the last 15 years, the DAC has at least one team qualify for the state finals 14 times. In 1997, Hobart's Jay Hoots was the lone DAC representative as and individual qualifier. In 2004 and 2005, the league teams nabbed all three team spots for the finals.

The DAC is also the home for a pair of medalists: LaPorte's Steven Lowe (2001) and Michigan City's Anthony Nowak (2006).

Taking a deeper look at the postseason in general, the DAC has accounted for 53 sectional crowns and 17 regional titles since its inception in 1970. All 10 schools that have been part of the league have at least one sectional championship to its credit.

That history lesson makes Tuesday's accomplishment a more-realistic endeavor in my eyes.

 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.hunsley@nwi.com.

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