Potters cruise to OVAC 4A golf title

WHEELING – Regardless if it was the heat, the challenging Jones Course at Oglebay Park’s Speidel Golf Club or the balance of the Class 4A field, nothing was going to stand in the way of the East Liverpool Potters Tuesday afternoon.

The talented and deep Potters’ golf team cruised to its second consecutive Ohio Valley Athletic Conference title, beating runner-up Meadowbrook by 36 shots and third-place St. Clairsville by 39 strokes.

“These guys have played pretty steadily all season long and this kind of score has been about the norm for us,” said Potters’ head coach Ben Wright. “We’ve got about two or three tournaments before the sectional and hopefully we’re able to keep playing this way.”

For East Liverpool, the title was just the second in school history.

Fueling the Liverpool score was a trio of all-OVAC players, which consist of the top five in each division.

Senior Blake Prince, who is headed to Cleveland State University, notched his third consecutive OVAC medalist finish, posting an impressive 1-over round of 73.

“It feels great to win again,” Prince said. “I played really consistently. Outside of a couple of bad holes, I thought I played well. The course was in great shape, the ball rolled really well on the greens, but the wind made it so you had to keep your ball down.”

Isaac Davidson and Joey Cilone both turned in rounds of 76, while Ryan Burson rounded out the Potters’ scoring with an 85.

“We’ve got four of the five kids back from a team that went to state last year, so we’re in a position to hopefully make another run in the postseason,” Wright said. “I think every tournament we’ve played this year we’ve had Blake, Isaac and Joey in the 70s. These kids really push each other and they want to beat each other, too.”

Meadowbrook finished three shots ahead of St. Clairsville for the runner-up spot. However, Red Devils’ senior Seth Vannoy, who was a member of the Devils’ state tournament team in 2012, took the runner-up medalist over Meadowbrook’s Nate Frencik in a one-hole playoff.

Both Vannoy and Frencik signed for rounds of 3-over 75, but Vannoy edged the Colts’ senior in the playoff, which was staged on the 10th hole.

“I didn’t putt real great today, but I hit 13 greens (in regulation), so something was going right for me,” Vannoy said. “In the playoff, I was just hoping to keep it in play, hit the green and two putt for par. When I had the short putt for par to win, it was in the back of my mind that I hadn’t putted very well, but I was able to make it when I had to.”

The OVAC Golf Championships resume on Thursday at Oglebay Park when Class 3A plays at Crispin and Class 5A plays on the Jones Course.

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleader-online.com