VASSALBORO — Saturday’s individual state championship at Natanis Golf Course became a lesson at just how hard defending a title can be.
Three golfers hit the links with the goal of repeating as state champion and all three came up a few shots short.
At the end of the day, all three classes had a new state champion. Bangor’s Drew Powell and Oceanside’s Nick Mazurek shared the Class A state title by shooting an even-par 72. Mazurek had a two-stroke lead over the field entering the back nine, but shot a 39 over the final nine holes. Powell, who made the turn at 1-over par, carded a 35 over his last nine holes to share the state title.
Defending co-champion Cam Letourneau of Oxford Hills was within two strokes of Mazurek at the run, but he shot a 45 on the back nine and finished tied for 10th with an 80.
“He put a lot of pressure on himself today to play really well and I thnk that affected him on that front side,” Oxford Hills coach Mike Grace said. “But I think he just relaxed on the back side and played like he’s capable of playing. I know he wanted to repeat, which is a tough thing to do.”
Teammate Mac Kim shot a 79 to finished tied for sixth. Chris Burns (84) finished tied for 17th.
Defending co-champion Chris Billings of Cheverus took third with a 73.
The Class B state title went to MCI’s Gavin Dugas, who carded a 1-under 71 to win by three strokes over Cape Elizabeth’s Reese McFarlane. Oak Hill’s Conor Drouin finished tied for fifth with MCI’s Eric Dugas with a 78.
Winthrop came a stroke away from sweeping the Class C state titles. A week after winning the team title, the Ramblers had three golfers finish in the top six. Adam Hachey shot a 1-over 73, one shot behind Mattanawcook’s Logan Thompson.
“We tried to not talk about any pressure, but I think there was a little self-imposed pressure out there,” Winthrop coach Lonney Steeves said. “They knew all three had potential to go out there and be the top guy there today. The top kid was a freshman, so that was a pretty special day for that young man.”
Anthony Owens (79) and Taylor Morang (80) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, for Winthrop.
“Adam was state runner-up, so that was outstanding,” Steeves said. “Taylor was a little disappointed. He felt he didn’t putt very well, but sixth in the state is still an outstanding showing, especially after last week. It’s hard to follow a 68 with anything. Anthony had a great day as well. I was pretty happy with all three guys. Having three kids in the top six in the state is a pretty great accomplishment.”
Fort Fairfield’s Robbie Watson, the defending state champion, fired a 76 to finish tied for third. He carded a 40 on his first nine holes before finishing with a 36.
Last year’s runner-up, St. Dominic Academy’s Mitch Lorenz shot an 83. Teammate Justin Keaney finished tied for seventh with an 81.
On the girls’ side, Thornton’s Hashilla Rivai shot a 2-under 70, and held off defending co-champions Bailey Plourde of Lincoln Academy and Jenna Hallet of Presque Isle by five strokes.
Lewiston freshman Stephanie Rodrigue, playing in her first individual state championship, finished 23rd with a 92. She was within striking distance of the lead after carding a 39 on the front nine, but needed 53 shots to complete the back nine.
“I told her regardless of her score today that I was extremely proud of her,” Lewiston coach Jace Pearson said. “Her interaction with the other athletes, the way she handled herself at this competition, it was like she had been there before.”
Pearson said Rodrigue will only get better as a result of Saturday’s performance.
“I think every athlete has to experience failure in order to win,” Pearson said. “As humbling as a big number can be, it’s definitely something she’ll overcome. It’s going to stick with her, no question, but learn from your mistakes, move on and be a stronger player from here on out.”