Lake Placid undeterred by Storm

Lake Placid senior Ryan Kane chips onto the 13th green during Thursday’s match against rival Saranac Lake at Craig Wood. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid golf team had to wait a little bit longer to claim its ninth win on Thursday, and most of the Blue Bombers only wound up playing six holes to get the job done.

In a delayed, and then shortened match at Craig Wood, Lake Placid blanked Saranac Lake 6-0 to improve to 9-0 and clinch at least a share of the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference title. The Blue Bombers are the only unbeaten team in the league and will now look to nail down a fourth undefeated season in a row today in their CVAC finale at AuSable Valley.

Thursday afternoon provided some strange weather as the match started out in sunshine and heat, and then was stopped due to lightning. After some golfers hunkered down in a shelter near the 15th green and others hopped into parents’ vehicles to wait out a mandatory half-hour stoppage, play resumed, but it only lasted for one more hole before thunder rumbled again. At that point, the teams headed to the club house, waited for about another 45 minutes, and then headed back out on the course again.

In order to officially complete the match, all golfers had to finish at least six holes. The first foursome made it through seven, and the following two groups got six in before the skies opened up with a drenching rain.

“We barely got it in, but we did,” Lake Placid coach John Glinski said. “The delays lasted more than an hour. We both have matches Friday, and we really didn’t want to reschedule anything for next week with sectionals coming up.”

Senior Tanner Courcelle, the Red Storm’s top golfer, rolls a putt on the 14th green in Thursday’s match against Lake Placid. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Whenever Lake Placid and Saranac Lake meet up, it’s a competitive rivalry among friends. Thursday was no different, but the Red Storm were unable to match the experience and talent of the Blue Bombers. All six Lake Placid golfers held leads of two shots or more before play was halted for good.

Bjorn Kroes and Drew Maiorca, the Blue Bombers top golfers, finished even after seven holes to notch victories over Saranac Lake’s Tanner Courcelle and Kyler Darrah. That group was ready to begin the 17th hole when the signal was given to leave the course.

“When I told them that’s it, the guys pulled off their hats and shook hands right there on the 17th tee,” Glinski said. “Another cell came out of nowhere, everyone evacuated quickly, and then it really let loose.”

Also picking up wins for Lake Placid were Ryan Kane, Sean Moore, Lars Kroes and Kevin Geesler. Their opponents in order were Saranac Lake’s Ray Amell, Gunnar Cross, Zach Glad and Bill Bentz.

After losing four of its top golfers from last year’s Section VII championship team, the Red Storm dropped to 6-3 with the setback. Saranac Lake is slated to end its CVAC slate on the road today against Northeastern Clinton.

Lake Placid’s Kevin Geesler prepares to tee off on the 13th hole at Craig Wood during a short downpour in Thursday’s match against Saranac Lake. Also pictured is Gunnar Cross of the Red Storm. The Blue Bombers won the match to improve to 9-0. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

“Our kids actually played pretty well, probably a little better than I expected on a longer course than they are used to,” Red Storm head coach Peter Frenette said. “They had a couple bad holes, and a couple really good holes, but those bad ones really hurt when you’re only playing six holes.”

Frenette said he is impressed with how his team has progressed during what could be considered a rebuilding season. The only players who were consistently in the top six a season ago were Courcelle and Darrah, who are now seniors, with Cross and Amell getting limited experience in the lineup in 2016.

“What I like about our kids is they are really into playing golf,” Frenette said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement. They’re really learning how to play matches. Each week, the kids are getting a little bit tougher. It’s always a lot different when you’re playing with a couple of buddies than when it counts. Today, our kids really saw first-hand what they were up against. Those Lake Placid kids are good. They’re really solid.”

Lake Placid’s four talented seniors — Bjorn Kroes, Kane, Moore and Geesler — were playing the final home match of their high school careers. Kroes and Kane have been with the team since eighth grade, while Geesler and Moore switched to golf as juniors after playing baseball. Combined, the four have notched a record of 112-12-5 in CVAC matches.

“Bjorn and Ryan played with some really good golfers on our team when they were younger, and I think that really inspired them,” Glinski said. “They’ve worked hard to get where they are, and some of our other guys, I think seeing how well our teams have done inspired them to come out. It’s kind of been passed on. I’ve been really fortunate to have the players I’ve had.”

After wrapping up the regular season, the teams will head into the Section VII Championships, which take place Thursday and Friday at the Barracks Golf Course Plattsburgh.