BELPRE - For the second year in a row, the Marietta High golf team took first place at the Washington County Invitational at Oxbow Golf and Country Club.
The invite lasted nearly six hours into the evening Friday, but it was worth the wait for Tigers head coach John Doughty.
"It was a good day, a good start for the Marietta program," Doughty said. "With the four seniors and a junior, I kind of expect the scores are gonna be that good. We've still got a long way to go, but it's a good start."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta’s Jeff Hensler sinks a putt on the 18th hole during Washington County Invitational action at Oxbow Friday.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Waterford golfer Cameron Bosner, left, gestures to Belpre's Sam Petty as the two discuss the approach shot to the sixth green while Warren's Kyler Dennis looks on during the annual Washington County Invitational at Oxbow Golf and Country Club Friday.
Marietta was led by Jeff Hensler, who finished with an even par score of 71 to earn medalist honors on the day. Hensler posted an impressive 32 on the front nine followed by a 39 on the back.
"Hensler shot a very good round today," Doughty said. "He's been playing very good golf lately. You're gonna see some good things out of him this year."
Each school totaled its four best scores to come up with its overall team score.
Washington County Invitational results
At Oxbox Golf and County Club
Marietta - 319
Jeff Hensler 32 39 - 71
Garrett Bertram 42 42 - 84
Nick Thieman 39 40 - 79
Max Fitzgerald 41 44 - 85
Matt Fitzgerald 45 45 - 90
Heath Hill 47 47 - 94
Belpre - 324
Sam Petty 38 42 - 80
Alex Perry 37 39 - 76
Jackie Cunningham 40 38 - 78
Ryan McGee 44 50 - 94
Bryce Ferrell 45 45 - 90
Warren - 325
Kyler Dennis 41 35 - 76
Max Hapney 37 44 - 81
Drew Simms 41 46 - 87
Nick Ward 36 45 - 81
Josh Jankauskas 45 45 - 90
Turner Schilling 46 52 - 98
Waterford - 337
Cameron Bosner 39 40 - 79
Jordan Welch 39 39 - 78
Josh Stewart 41 49 - 90
Alex Branham 46 56 - 102
Brent Ginther 44 46 - 90
Isaac Trader 51 47 - 98
Fort Frye - 467
Devin Brooker 46 48 - 94
Ben Wagner 51 55 - 106
Zach Nesselroad 61 60 - 121
Brady Smith 62 84 - 146
Nick Thieman shot a 79, Garrett Bertram carded an 84 and Max Fitzgerald turned in an 85 to combine for Marietta's team score of 319, five strokes better than second place Belpre. Matt Fitzgerald (90) and Heath Hill (94) also competed for the Tigers. First-year Belpre golf coach Jordan Thornhill saw his team take runner-up honors with a score of 324.
Alex Perry led the way for the Golden Eagles with a 76, followed by Jackie Cunningham's 78, Sam Petty's 80 and Bryce Ferrell's 90. Ryan McGee added a 94.
Kyler Dennis stroked a 76 to lead the Warren Warriors to third place. Nick Ward and Max Hapney both shot 81, while Drew Simms contributed an 87 to put Warren one stroke behind Belpre at 325. Josh Jankauskas added a 90 and Turner Schilling carded a 98 for the Warriors.
"I thought it was a fun day, a very competitive day," said Warren golf coach Nathan Evans. "I thought Kyler had a good day, shooting a 76. He went bogey, double(-bogey) on the last two holes so he could have been even lower. We have some young players so we're gonna take some bumps, but I think as the season goes on, they're talented enough that we're just gonna keep pushing them and see if we can kind of get over the hump."
Jordan Welch and Cameron Bosner came through with a pair of sub-80 performances for Waterford, which finished in fourth place at 337. Welch shot a 78 while Bosner turned in a 79. Josh Stewart and Brent Ginther each turned in 90s to round out the Wildcats' score. Isaac Trader added a 98 and Alex Branham shot 102.
Waterford head coach Josh Arnold thinks his team is capable of more than it showed Friday.
"It's a little disappointing," Arnold said. "We're a few strokes better than that.
"The good thing is it's early in the year. I think we have a team that can win any match, any tournament we enter. We'll take away the good things and work on the bad and tee it up again next time."
Fort Frye brought up the rear with a team score of 467. Devin Brooker shot a 94, Ben Wagner a 106, Zach Nesselroad a 121 and Brady Smith a 146 for the Bruce Lanning-coached Cadets.
NOTES: The order in which the five schools finished this year is identical to last year's order. ... Marietta and Belpre each finished one stroke better at this year's invite than last year's. Warren saw the biggest improvement, up 17 strokes from last year's 342. Fort Frye suffered the biggest drop-off from 419 last year to 467 this year. ... Waterford hosts its annual invitational Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Lakeside. According to Arnold, the invite is expected to consist of over 20 schools.