ALTON — The Granite City Warriors are improving. The Alton Redbirds are too, but on Wednesday the Warriors were a little better.
GCHS fired a 166 to outdistance the Redbirds' 180 on Wednesday at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton. Granite City improved to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in Southwestern Conference play with the win, while AHS dipped to 2-7 overall and 1-5 on the league slate.
Gavin Grote and David Keel tied for medalist honors, each carding a 40 to lead the Warriors to victory.
GCHS head coach Jeff Ridenour is happy with the progression of his squad.
“The last couple of matches we've been playing we've been getting better,” Ridenour said. “We had a match last night with O'Fallon and we lost a tough, we lost by one stroke. O'Fallon shot a 159, we had a 160, so I feel our guys are coming along. Our kids have been around awhile and they worked hard over the summer on their game and they've dedicated themselves at getting better.”
Alton head coach Zach Deeder sees his team getting better, too. He hopes they can just keep improving to be in position for some success come postseason.
“We're evenly matched with these guys and 166 is a great score. I'd have been happy with that for us,” Deeder said. “They outplayed us on the last few holes. They kept it together and we added a few shots. I'm not disappointed, but we did have a good shot at this one.
“We're getting there. We're getting better every week and I'm happy with these guys so far and we're gaining experience. This is a great time to get better.”
Grote and Keel were joined in the scoring for the Warriors by: Riley Brown (42) and Brandon Merz and Drew Wielgus tying with 44 for the last score. Grant Beanland (49) and Ethan Merz (53) rounded out the lineup.
Alton was led by Sam Ballard with a 43. He was joined by: Ryan Boyd (44), Matt Moore (46) and Max Hunter (47) in the scoring lineup. Austin Erthal (49), Tysen Barton (52), Connor Broyles (55) and Grant Bowden (56) rounded out the rest of the Redbirds to play Wednesday.
Grote felt Tuesday's tight loss to the Panthers left the Warriors hungry entering the dual with AHS.
“We lost by one stroke to O'Fallon last night so we were coming out hoping to get a win tonight and we were wanting to shoot good like we did yesterday,” Grote said. “We were able to come out and put out some good scores and we got the win.”
Keel thinks things are looking up for Granite City. They are improving at the right time heading toward the postseason.
“We're about middle of the pack right now and we still have some hard teams to play, but I think we'll be alright in the upcoming part of the season,” Keel said. “We just need to shave off some strokes from everybody's score and just keep practicing trying to get better.”
Ridenour praised Keel and Grote and thinks Wednesday was just a precursor for good things to come for the tandem.
“They both had good rounds and they are both capable of scoring that,” he said. “I don't think they reached their potential early and they're just getting to where they should have been all year. They've been potentially able to shoot 40s all year long and even possibly in the 30s.”
Both the Birds and the Warriors will participate in the Panther Invite at 1 p.m. Friday at Tamarack Country Club in O'Fallon.