Lonney Steeves was simply hoping to get his Winthrop golf team to the conference playoffs.
That was this past Monday and the Ramblers are still going strong.
With a team without any seniors and built around mostly freshmen and sophomores, Steeves was just hoping his squad could make some noise in the conference this year.
"I told the kids Monday when we played in the semifinals and finals that my goal was to get to that day," said Steeves. "Whatever came after that was gravy."
Winthrop finished second in the conference Monday and took third in Wednesday's state championship qualifier. That sends the Ramblers to Saturday's state team championships while individual golfers qualified for the individual championships the following week. Not bad for a team that had been suggested as a possible budget cut prior to the season.
"I'm really proud of them," said Steeves. "I'm excited for the kids. At the start of the season and being told we might not even have a team and here we are playing in the state championships and the individual championships and being represented in both."
St. Dom's, which has won 82 straight matches, won the C qualifier Wednesday with a total of 312. Wiscasset took second with 342, followed by the Ramblers with 345. Oak Hill also qualified in Class B.
"Every single kid literally played the best round they've played all year today," said St. Dom's coach Kevin Cullen. "I was just hoping we'd qualify. I didn't really know what to expect. We've been practicing really hard. I was hopeful that we could be under 330 and that we'd have four or five guys qualify individually. That we shot 312, I think that's the best score of any school in the state this year in qualifying."
The Saints only had one returning golfer this year in senior Zack DeBlois. St. Dom's has still risen to the occasion and should be among the teams to contend in Saturday's team championships at Natanis. In addition to Wiscasset and Winthrop, teams like Fort Fairfield and Houlton could be in the mix as well. Houlton and St. Dom's have each won three titles in the last six years.
DeBlois finished with a 70 on Wednesday. Mike Richard had a 79 while Mitch Lorentz shot an 80. John Marcous and Andrew Marcous made it five Saints to qualify with scores or 83 and 86 respectively.
"I don't have any expectations that we'll be able to shoot that again," said Cullen. "I'd love to be able to shoot the same score. If we can come within 16 shots of what we did, I'd be ecstatic."
Winthrop's Taylor Morang tied Richard for the second-best score Wednesday. He shot a 79. Anthony Owens also qualified for the individual state championships with an 82. The Ramblers also got a 92 from Adam Hachey and Zach Steele. Ben Caprara added a 94.
"I was pretty happy with what the kids did," said Steeves. "Morang had a good day and Andrew, one of our freshmen, had a really good day. Zach and Ben really came through. Adam didn't have as good a day as he wanted to but to put together four good numbers like that was pretty nice."
There could be a number of contenders in Saturday's team championships. Steeves expects his Ramblers to be in the hunt.
"I would hope that we'll be in the top four or five teams in the state," said Steeves. "Looking at the qualifying scores from other schools, most of them are over 350. We were 343 today."
In the KVAC qualifier held Tuesday at Natanis, Edward little and Oxford Hills each qualified in Class A. Leavitt qualified in B.
Bangor was the top team in A with a score of 321. EL and Oxford Hills each finished with 328. Lewiston (341) and Mt. Blue (417) failed to qualify for the team play. In B, Maranacook was the top qualifier with 321. Leavitt finished with a score of 373.
Individual qualifiers for EL included Cooper Easter with 75 and Brian Crane with 81. EL also got a 90 from Nate Pushard, an 82 from Brandon Dube and 92 each from Kyle Karkos and Brendan Croteau. Oxford Hills qualifiers included Matt Michaud and Chris Burns, each with 81. The Vikings also had Briana Morris shoot a 92 to qualify in girls' play. Oxford Hills also got an 83 each from Cameron Letourneau and Mac Kim. Ben Morton and Dylan Cox each shot an 86.
Leavitt didn't have any individuals qualify but reached the state championships with an 86 from Mark Hite. Ryan Gosselin added an 89, Kaleb Boulet a 100 and Alex Pinard a 121. Brian Hiscock and Justin Bean each shot 99.
Lewiston's Cameron Marquis qualified for the individual championships with a round of 77.