The Division I state tournament didn't start the way St. Charles Preparatory School golf coach Anthony Mampieri and his team had hoped.

The Division I state tournament didn't start the way St. Charles Preparatory School golf coach Anthony Mampieri and his team had hoped.

After the first round last Friday was canceled because of bad weather, the tournament became a one-day, 18-hole event last Saturday at Ohio State's Scarlet Course, and the Cardinals struggled with the wind through most of the round.

But after 12 holes, they reverted to the team that won sectional and district titles the two previous weeks and erased a seven-stroke deficit over the final six holes to earn the program's first state title.

St. Charles finished with a 309 to overtake runner-up Cincinnati St. Xavier (313) and Cleveland St. Ignatius (315).

"When we were going up to the 13th (tee), I saw that the kids had started to guide their shots and they were decelerating their swings," Mampieri said. "I just told them to let it fly, and that's what they did. We were down seven strokes to St. Ignatius with six holes to play and we ended up beating them by six. That's a 13-stroke difference."

Sophomore Nate Yankovich led the Cardinals with a 3-over-par 75, tying him with three others -- Cincinnati Moeller's Andrew Dorn, Canfield's Bruce Timko and Sidney's Zach Yinger -- for second behind West Chester Lakota West's Korey Ward (74).

"The weather made me focus more," said Yankovich, who earned first-team all-state honors. "I really thought if we averaged a 78 or 79 we'd do OK. My putting was very good and my ball-striking was better than it had been at Granville (district) and Apple Valley (regional).

"I hit three 15-foot (putts) on the back nine. On (hole) 14, I was five yards off the green and was able to roll it in."

Junior Alex Carpenter shot a 76 to tie for sixth. Also competing for the Cardinals were senior Andrew Steffensmeier (79), junior Michael Ricaurte (79) and junior Daniel Weigandt (82).

"Alex started his round with a bogey and double bogey and had three putts on his first three holes," Mampieri said. "He was 7-over on his first 12 holes and was 1-under from then on. He was getting beaten pretty badly by Kyle Kmicik of St. Ignatius by six or seven shots, but rallied to where they both finished with 76."

Carpenter, who made second-team all-state, was excited about the chance to have a winner-take-all round.

"We knew that if we were going to play for state, we were going to have to come out ready to play," he said. "We knew we would never have a chance to get shots back and fix mistakes from the day before. You had to think about your shots a little more (last Saturday) because of the wind. You had to figure out whether you needed to add or take away a club. How strong you were mentally went a long way to dictate how well you played."

Many coaches were frustrated that rain washed away the first round, but not Mampieri.

"To be honest, a lot of people were saying that playing 36 holes really brings the cream to the top, but I can't say we were disappointed," he said. "Maybe St. Ignatius would have been tough to beat over 36 holes. Maybe if we play St. Ignatius 10 times, they would beat us nine of them. I don't know that, but I tried to instill in our kids that this was the last round of golf they would be playing this year, and that they would want to relax and have fun out there.

"There was no make-up. This was all we were going to have, and a lot of people were upset by it. We had one round to play and I felt good about being in that situation. We won the sectional and district title in one round."

Perhaps the signature shot of the Cardinals' round was made by Steffensmeier, who chipped in a 36-foot birdie on the par-4 18th.

"I chipped a good shot on 17 and that gave me some confidence," said Steffensmeier, the team's only senior in the state lineup. "But truthfully, I just wanted to hit it crisp and get in position. When I saw it bite, I knew it had a chance to get in. When I hit it, I couldn't really see where the ball was going, but I heard people saying 'Get in there! Get in there!' so I figured it must have been close. I've never made a chip like that before."

All five golfers for the Cardinals shot 39 or better on the back nine at Scarlet. But the windy, cold conditions didn't make low rounds easy to bring back to the clubhouse.

"It was windy and cold, and I didn't get a lot of help on putts," Ricaurte said. "It was a mental grind; alot of things didn't go your way. You just had to keep your head in there and keep pushing through it."

Steffensmeier and Weigandt had an advantage, as their families are members of the course.

"I think it was a good advantage being my home course, by knowing the holes and knowing the greens," Weigandt said. "I got off to a bad start on the front nine, but then I settled down. The weather got worse as the day went on. It kept getting colder and windier. I kept telling myself that I had to keep playing and keep my focus, because the team needed my score."

Mampieri thinks the weather actually might have been a help to golfers.

"It was windy and cold, but the rain we got (last Friday night) really softened the greens," he said. "As bad as the weather might have seemed (last Saturday), there were still more 70s (22) than we're used to seeing at state."


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the St. Charles cross country, football and soccer teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday -- Finished 10th (236) of 13 teams in Division I, district 3 meet at Watkins Memorial behind regional-qualifiers New Albany (67), Reynoldsburg (69), Olentangy Liberty (76), Hilliard Davidson (114), Hilliard Bradley (118) and Thomas Worthington (141). Junior Chris Quinn was 21st (17:55.23), but missed qualifying as an individual by one place as the top 20 moved on to regional. Eric Niemeyer (43rd, 18:51.06), Austin Guter (49th, 19:04.00), Patrick Lynch (63rd, 19:30.18), Michael Susa (64th, 19:39.03) and Stuart Swartz (65th, 19:47.55) also competed.

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday -- Lost to Watterson 20-0. The Cardinals had five turnovers including four passes intercepted. Friday -- At Jonathan Alder. The Pioneers were 6-3 after defeating Greenfield McClain 43-0 last Friday. They led 20-0 after one quarter.

Of note: The Cardinals are 5-4 overall and finished 0-2 in the CCL-Silver Division behind champion DeSales at 2-0 and Watterson at 1-1.

SOCCER

Oct. 21 -- Def. Groveport 5-0 in first round of Division I district tournament. Charlie Macias scored twice. Kevin Colvin, Eddie Evans and Alan Sincich also scored. Adam Mesewicz had three saves. Saturday -- Lost to 11th-seeded Upper Arlington 1-0 in overtime in second round. Mesewicz had 11 saves.

Of note: The Cardinals finished 5-11-4 overall and finished 2-2-1 in the CCL behind champion DeSales at 5-0.

*CCL contest