The 23rd IHSAA Boys Golf State Finals saw two Circle City Conference athletes become the highest finishers in their schools’ histories. Heritage Christian’s Drew Pickering became the first Eagle to qualify for the event, and Ty Gingerich came in one stroke off of the leaders for a third-place finish. These two juniors are already chomping at the bit to see what their senior year will hold.

Pickering’s march to state started last July when he began meeting with swing coach Max Neihans. Diligent work at Prairie View over the summer and through the winter provided early returns in the spring. By the midway point of the season, it was clear that a state finals appearance was a real possibility.

“I was averaging about a 73 for 18 holes and knew that 75 was usually going to make it to state,” Pickering shared. “So if I had a good round at regionals, I knew I could get through.”

A 73 at the Muncie Central (Player’s Club) regional was good enough for a second place finish and a punched ticket to the main event.

After missing the cut to qualify for regionals last year by one stroke, Gingerich’s game blossomed in 2018. Having only played competitive golf for two years, he just needed some time to acclimate to the challenges.

“Once I stopped playing baseball in the fall of my freshman year, it was kind of tough playing in competitive tournaments,” Gingerich confessed. “I had not played in very many of them, and my game was not at the level of some of the kids I was playing with.”

It was evident Ty had overcome this by the start of tournament play this year. He finished tied for third in the sectional, a ten stroke improvement from the previous year. He then went on to win a regional championship, posting a -6 and besting the runner-up by three strokes.

Heading into Day 1, Pickering felt a definite sense of accomplishment. As a freshman, he had only missed the cut for state by two strokes. Last year, he was four strokes away. It felt great to finally break through.

“I was excited and a bit nervous for my first appearance at the state finals,” recalled Pickering. “It felt really special to have made it there after two years of being so close.”

The next two days proved challenging but memorable. Pickering recorded tough birdies both days. Gingerich spent almost four hours as the leader in the clubhouse, before eventually being moved down to third. As stated earlier, both Pickering and Gingerich’s performances were historic for their schools.

“It is a big step in my golf career, made more special by the fact I am the first from HCS to make it there. Hopefully, more of us will make it next year,” reflected Pickering.

“It’s certainly very cool,” agreed Gingerich. “It’s an honor, but I hope to have an even better finish next season.”

Not satisfied with breaking records, these two are already at work trying to take their game to the next level. They are both in the midst of a challenging summer tournament schedule. These events include the Indiana Golf Foundation Boys State Championship, U.S. Amateur qualifier, and American Junior Golf Association events at Otter Creek, D.A. Points, Oak Ridge, and the City of London.

Best of luck to both of these young men as they continue to pursue their dream and make the conference proud!

P.S. Ty would like to offer the following thanks and thoughts: First and foremost, I would like to thank God for giving me the ability to play golf. I want to thank my parents for all of the sacrifices they have made over the years to better me and my golf game. I want to thank my friends and family for all of the support over the years. I want to thank all of my Guerin coaches, Mark Mathews, Brian Hammons, and Scott Ehnes for all of their hard work and dedication to the Guerin golf program. I also want to thank my teammates for all of their support. I want to thank my swing coach, Brad Fellers, for all of the time and effort that he has invested into my golf game over the past couple of years. I want to thank my trainer, Michael Christman, for getting my body into proper shape. I want to thank my mentor/friend, Eric Steger, for spending time with me to better my golf game and giving me advice. I want to thank my pastor Jon Tice and youth pastor Kylan Dubbels for helping my grow closer to God. Lastly, I want to thank the Guerin Catholic community for all of their support over the last couple of weeks.