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Linsly rolls to OVAC 3A golf crown

BARNESVILLE JUNIOR Carter Wells tracks his tee shot on the par 5, 12th hole during Thursday’s OVAC Class 3A Golf Championship. He finished second overall.

WHEELING – All OVAC championships are cherished at the Linsly School.

The golf crown the Cadets captured Thursday afternoon under ideal conditions at Oglebay Park’s Crispin Course will always rank extremely high on the list of the 18 the school now owns.

And that’s for a myriad of reasons, too.

Obviously, Linsly isn’t eligible for West Virginia post-season play, making the conference tournament the biggest goal. Additionally, the Cadets played five seniors, all of whom had been part of three consecutive runner-up finishes.

If that wasn’t enough, throw in the fact that a little less than a week ago there was a huge question mark as if Linsly could even compete because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of West Virginia’s color-coded map, which had Ohio County listed as ‘Orange’ last Saturday morning.

The county dipped back to ‘yellow’ by Saturday afternoon, the Cadets were eligible and didn’t let the opportunity pass by. Firing an impressive score of 295, Linsly captured its first conference title on the links since 2014.

“I am really happy for our seniors,” Cadets head coach Mark Landini said. “We know what it feels like to finish second and we also knew Fort Frye and Barnesville were tough. We knew we’d have to play our best (to win).”

Linsly played probably as close to its best as it could. The Cadets’ score was 24 shots better than Fort Frye and 27 fewer than two-time defending champion Barnesville.

That sort of score was fueled by three players – Ryan Dembiczak, Dylan Dunlevy and Aidan Grubler – who earned a spot on the All-OVAC squad, which includes the top five overall players.

Dembiczak blitzed the Crispin course. He set the tone for the round immediately off the first tee by making a birdie and really never looked back, finishing with a round of 2-under, 69.

“As soon as I birdied the first, I was thinking about parring out and making a couple of birdies on the par fives,” Dembiczak said. “My putting was on point and it led to a good start. The birdie (at one) definitely helped significantly because you realize that you can score and play well if you’re dialed in.”

Dembiczak made the turn at 3-under 33 and played a bit more conservatively on the back side where he finished with a 36.

“I was able to get up and down on five, six and seven, and I had a feeling I was going to birdie eight and nine for that 33,” Dembiczak said. “I only had 28 putts, which is something you can’t complain about. This (OVAC) title is something that I’ve wanted or thought about since my freshman year. It’s a special feeling.”

Dunlevy finished with a 74 and Grubler was a shot back. The fourth Cadet score to be counted was Geno Bisbocci’s solid effort of 77.

“I am so happy that these kids get to go out as champions,” Landini said, fighting back emotion. “(Last Saturday) we woke up in the morning thinking we weren’t even going to get a chance to compete for (the OVAC). It just means a lot and having been through that really adds to it. All four of our guys are capable of shooting well and they brought it (Thursday).”

Barnesville junior Carter Wells finished as the runner-up medalist, signing for a round of even-par, 71.

The other spot on the All-OVAC squad went to Monroe Central freshman Zander Potts, who posted a 5-over, 76, while playing in the fourth-position.

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