Three area seniors were part of the local contingent who didn't qualify for Wednesday's championship round of state boys golf finals, but I wouldn't call their final prep rounds were a total negative experience.
I'm sure all three would've loved to advance out of Tuesday's opening round at the Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin. A little to my surprise, the trio found a way to smile and take something positive away from the day.
Lake Central's Michael Barenie said his 78 -- which included a 40 on his front nine -- would not dampen his season. Barenie is attending Indiana University on an academic scholarship, so this was the end of his competitive career. All-Duneland Athletic Conference honors, DAC meet and sectional rounds plus an individual state berth were the ideal topper for his prep career.
"I'm not happy (with Tuesday's round), but I'm not livid," Barenie said. "Every goal I set for my four years I accomplished this season. ... It's hard to be disappointed with (Tuesday)."
I had an easier time understanding the joy from the perspective of LaPorte's Joel Collins. After a 43 his front nine, he finished at 1-under over his final prep nine holes of golf.
"It was nice as a senior to make it here," Collins said. "I made all of nine of the greens in regulation on the back. That was solid."
The IUPUI recruit used the experience as a springboard to his college career, which includes continuing to play with Slicers teammate Jordan Lenard.
"I love to play with Jordan, and I've learned a lot from him," Collins said. "It's an experience that I'm looking forward to."
I clearly understood the angst with Valparaiso's golf contingent, which included senior Logan Bertalan. The team carded a 329, 24 strokes higher than the score from their LaPorte Regional win.
Bertalan had an 82, which included a snowman (8) on No. 4.
Bertalan cracked a smile as I began to talk to him after his round. He even joked about having five straight bogeys on his back nine, saying that he got on the "bogey train." He wouldn't look through a negative prism.
"We all had a great time," said Bertalan, who will play golf at DePauw next year. "We're a close team, and we had a lot of fun with each other."
I'm just glad to find that they all found a way to put a memorable perspective on the experience.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.