VALPARAISO | Maybe it was Friday's sub-60 temperatures and gray skies? It could have also been Chesterton coach Kent Butler's "talk" after Wednesday's seventh-place finish at the Duneland Athletic Conference meet.
Either way, the Times No. 7 Trojans shaved off 34 strokes in less than 48 hours and picked up a surprising sectional title over host and No. 1 Valparaiso at Forest Park Golf Course.
"When it's nice, we just don't play that well," said Butler, whose team carded a 305 to edge the defending-champion Vikings by four strokes. "They were aware of the conditions and took advantage of it.
"I kind of got on them (after the DAC). I said, 'Look at that (leader) board you guys.' I thought it was kind of embarrassing."
"I told them to focus and just play smart (Friday). I couldn't be more prouder of them."
Sophomore Zach Von Huben led the way with a personal-best 75.
"We all kept the ball in play," said Von Huben, who had an 88 Wednesday. "I thought if we played well, we could do this."
Valparaiso junior Bobby Jacobs won medalist honors with a 74, joining teammates Logan Bertalan (2011) and Kyle Meihofer (2010) as individual titlists at the event.
"It's pretty cool that all three of us to have a (medalist title)," said Jacobs, who had three birdies on the front nine. "It's pretty easy to play, because I know my teammates are going to play well."
Despite a fifth-place performance at the DAC and a runner-up performance Friday, Jacobs still feels confident about his team.
"We're not going to to go out there and shoot 58s," he said. "We're just trying to advance. We'll be alright."
Portage coach Dick Kretz figured his inexperienced team would find their way in the latter parts of the season, and that seemed evident in the Indians' repeat third-place finish at the sectional.
"Our goal was 320, and we left a few shots out there," said Kretz, whose team finished at 324. "We lost 80 percent of our team (to graduation), and I knew we would have our ups and downs. This just shows the kids the potential they have."
Marquette's Jack Clancy carded a 75 and returns as a individual qualifier for Friday's LaPorte Regional. Teammate Pat Roder (77) and Andrean's Jack Musgrave (77) advanced from a three-way playoff for the final two spots.