By JIMMY KISSEE
VALPARAISO - Chesterton golf coach Chuck Craycraft summed up his teams
performance Friday afternoon at the Valparaiso Sectional held at Forest Park
with one word - incredible.
With each golfer putting forth their finest effort in the same match for the
first time all season, the talent-rich Trojan senior foursome of Steve St.
Germain, Sam Chumbley, Alex Cook and Eric Beckley shot a remarkable
three-under par 277 - 10 strokes below the sectional record - to cruise past
conference nemesis Michigan City and the host Vikings for its first
sectional crown since 1999.
The men in maroon and gold, who shattered Valparaiso’s total of 287 posted
in 1994, had lost to Valparaiso by a combined three strokes the past two
seasons in sectional play with each being determined by questionable
On Friday, there was no doubt who was the top team as the Wolves came in at
282 and the previously unbeaten Vikings managed a 292. All three teams
advance to Friday’s LaPorte Regional, which will be played at Beechwood.
“Everybody had each others backs today,” said an elated Craycraft after the
“We all came together on this one and we all decided we’ve had enough. It’s
been tough the past two seasons here at the sectional, but we put our foot
forward today and took things one stroke at a time. I knew these kids had
the ability, but to come in three strokes under par as a team is flat out
St. Germain, a senior, who was participating in sectional play for the first
time since his freshman season, led the way for Chesterton, firing an
exceptional three-under par 67, which was good for medalist honors from his
No. 5 position.
St. Germain, who played bogey free golf until hole No. 16, simplified his
round by saying, “I stuck my shots and made some putts and the solid start
really helped my confidence. The most important thing, however, about today
is we all played well as a team for the first time all season. This is
great. We’re all seniors and we really wanted this. I didn’t come here
expecting to get medalist honors, but I’ll surely take it.”
Craycraft couldn’t have been more pleased with the round turned in by St.
“His attitude was really positive and nothing seemed to faze him today,”
Craycraft said. “I knew he had the ability and he picked a perfect day to
After St. Germain it was Sam Chumbley with a 69, Alex Cook at 70 and Eric
Beckley at 71.
Chumbley, who did his best Tiger Woods impersonation from this years
Master’s, chipping in from the fringe of the 18th green as the ball hung on
the hole for a second before dropping, added it was a great feeling after
falling just short the past two seasons.
“We finally, finally did it,” Chumbley sighed.
“We thought between a 280 and 285 would win this, but to come in at 277 is
just nuts. We left here pretty upset the past couple of seasons so we’re
going to savor this one. For the first time I think I was happy on the golf
Chumbley went on to credit St. Germain on his stellar round.
“I’m so happy to see him play that way,” he said. “I knew he was capable of
that, but to see him through today was great. He was long overdue.”
Cook rebounded from a sluggish start to the back nine, birdying two of three
final holes to save his round, and Beckley remained consistent, posting a
back-nine 36 to go with his even par 35 on the front nine.
Michigan City put three golfers in the sixties (Anthony Novak 69, Christian
Nagle 69, Nate Jones 69), but it wasn’t enough as Kyle Nieman carded a 75 to
ruin any chance Michigan City had for victory.
Kyle Prow led Valparaiso with a 69, but the rest of the Vikings struggled a
Sean Gallas of Michigan City Marquette (73), Colin Serocinski of Kankakee
Valley (75) and Mitch Swan of Rennselaer (75) advanced individually to the
LaPorte Regional, which will begin play at 9 a.m. on Friday.
At Forest Park, Par 70
(Top 3 teams and individuals not on advancing teams advance to Friday’s
LaPorte Regional at Beechwood)
TEAM SCORES - 1. CHESTERTON 277 (SECTIONAL RECORD); 2. Michigan City 282; 3.
Valparaiso 292; 4. Portage 321; 5. Michigan City Marquette 326; 6.
Rennsselaer 328; 7. Kankakee Valley 329; 8. South Central 371; 9. Knox 372;
10. Westville 376; 11. Wheeler 380; 12. Oregon-Davis 396; 13. North Judson
400; 14. (tie) Kouts, Morgan Twp., Washington Twp - all incomplete.
Individual Regional Qualifiers
Sean Gallas (MC Marq) 73, Colin Serocinski (KV) 75, Mitch Swan (Ren) 75.
MEDALIST - Steve St. Germain (Ches) 67.
CHESTERTON - Steve St. Germain 67, Sam Chumbley 69, Alex Cook 70, Eric
Beckley 71, Scott Woods 80 (thrown out).
MICHIGAN CITY - Anthony Novak 69, Christian Nagle 69, Nate Jones 69, Kyle
VALPARAISO - Kyle Prow 69, Travis Ranegar 73, Mike Hrunek 74, Eddy Sheptak