MECHANICSBURG – It was business as usual for Coach Todd Trainer and his Mechanicsburg Indians boys golf team this week. The team practiced like usual – except that it didn’t.
Trainer is in his fifth season as coach at Mechanicsburg. He was a player at M’burg from 1997-2001 and had goals to make it to districts and eventually, state – dreams that never materialized.
“For a team from the village of Mechanicsburg to make the state tournament is quite an accomplishment for everyone involved,” Trainer said. “It has been quite an emotional roller coaster this week, especially since this was a goal we had my senior year at Mechanicsburg.”
The team is going to play at the Ohio State University’s Scarlet course in the Division III state tournament Friday and Saturday. The course is longer and more demanding than Indian Springs, the team’s home course. To prepare, the boys got to play at Urbana Country Club.
“It was good to have them play a course with the same length and difficulty as OSU Scarlet,” Trainer said, “thanks to some community members working it out so we could play out there.”
Trainer said the team is trying to stay loose and focused.
“We are excited to still be playing the last weekend of the golf season,” he said. “Obviously there is not another round or week of golf after Saturday, so we are trying to enjoy the time we have left.”
That’s especially true for seniors Mack Cushman and Cody Minor, two four-year letterwinners.
Cushman, a First Team Ohio Heritage Conference selection, has been the face of the golf team for his four years and only this season took a bit of a backseat to the talented sophomore Caleb Westfall, who came into his own as a freshman late in the season last year.
Westfall, the conference’s player of the year, combines with Cushman to form one of the best one-two combos in all of high school golf.
Junior Corey Bogan fired his best round of his career at last week’s district meet and will need to be strong again if the Indians want to win. Bogan earned honrable mention from the OHC this season.
Rounding out the five-man roster will be freshman Jack Shoemaker, who along with Westfall will be the future of the program.
This season marks the first time the Indians have made it to districts and state as a team since 1991. Caleb Westfall’s uncle, Joe Moore, was on that team. Trainer had two teammates – Clint Anderson and Jared Nunamaker – make it to districts as individuals and had two younger brothers who qualified as individuals in 2005 and 2006. Cushman was the school’s next individual qualifier, in 2013, and Westfall qualified last season.
The Indians left on Thursday for a practice round before beginning the real thing on Friday morning, with tee times ranging from 9:40-10:12 a.m. at the first tee.
“The town and school have been phenomenal,” Trainer said. “The team moms prepared a dinner for the team after practice Wednesday night. The football moms made signs to display on Route 29 towards Columbus for our trip out of town on Thursday for the practice round. And lastly the school is did a pep rally for the kids as we left on Thursday.”