Photo by Bill Roseberry
Edwardsville's Ben Tyrrell tees off at No. 12 at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington on Saturday during the Class 3A state golf tournament. Tyrrell shot a two-day score of 149 to tie for seventh place individually to earn a state medal.
When longtime Edwardsville boys’ golf head coach Dene Schickedanz resigned over the summer, EHS announced assistant coaches Adam Tyler and Doug Wright would share the head coaching duties in 2016.
On Saturday the co-head coaches saw their first season come to a close at the Class 3A state tournament. Not too shabby of a start.
The Tigers carded a 625 score over two days of golf at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, led by juniors Ben Tyrrell and Tanner White, to tie for 6th place in the team standings.
Tyrrell’s two-day score of 149 was good to tie for 7th place at the state. He earned a medal with a 13th-place finish as a sophomore and became only the third EHS boys’ golfer to earn two state medals on Saturday. Alex VanDiver (‘83 and ‘85) and Devlin Keenoy (‘07 and ‘09) are the others.
White carded a two-day score of 151, good for 11th overall at state in ‘16. The rest of the lineup included junior Jon Ratterman (162), seniors Luke Babington (163) and Spencer Patterson (166) and sophomore Blake Burris (182).
Tyler gave all the credit to that talent and the foundation around the program for the success.
“I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids and a better group of families to start my coaching career off with,” Tyler said. “We had some experience coming back from last year and that helped. It made the transition incredibly smooth and easy. You look really good as a coach when you’re around good kids and good families and that’s really who gets all the credit.
“We were just along for the ride this year and it was a fun ride.”
Wright echoed that same sentiment, admitting the coaching staff just worked as the caretakers for the program and did it with a team effort.
“We shared the duties and when (Tyler) needed somebody to pick up and help out, Kumar (Bhooshan) and I were both there,” Wright said. “It’s been a fun ride. We do a lot of talking and planning and have a lot of fun.
“We’re glad to be playing this late in October, because there are a lot of teams that aren’t. This is nice for us to be here.”
Tyrrell and White said there was no adjustment period when Tyler and Wright were named the coaches. Their familiarity with the players made it a smooth transition.
“All of us have been really close; regardless of whether you’re the head coach or the JV coach, or freshman coach, all coaches are kind of like your head coach,” White said. “You always respect them. There wasn’t really an adjustment period. We’ve always been close and we just come out here and play our game and there’s not a whole lot different we did this year under coach Tyler and coach Wright. I enjoyed it; it was fun.”
Tyrrell added, “It wasn’t that big of a change. I like our coaches. It all worked out.”
The results were there all year. The Tigers were the Southwestern Conference champions in ‘16, won a regional title, the large-school Madison County Tournament title, the large-school Dick Gerber Invite title and the Pekin Dragon Invite crown. They were also second at sectionals, the Redbird Invitational, the Quincy Invitational and the Champaign Invitational.
Tyrrell was medalist in five of EHS’ tournaments: the Redbird Invite, the MadCo Tournament, the St. Viator Invite, the SWC Tourney and the Quincy Regional.
With 4 of the 6 golfers from state back next season, Tyrrell thinks the Tigers will be in good shape again in 2017.
“We have four solid players coming back next year, so I think if we can find a few other players that can be consistent I think we’ll do fine,” Tyrrell said.
White added, “Hopefully we get back (to state) next year and I can improve on what I shot this year and hopefully as a team we can get some hardware. If we don’t come as a team hopefully I can improve on where I was this year.”
Tyrrell said watching former teammate Justin Hemings win an individual 3A state championship in 2015 helped with the team’s confidence in themselves. It proved to them that earning state hardware is a tangible goal.
“It proved anybody can come out here for two days and win state,” Tyrrell said. “He definitely showed us that it can be done, so I think next year it can be done.”
Tyler understands the future is bright, but applauded Babington and Patterson for the work they did this year. The seniors’ professionalism is something the Edwardsville program always takes pride in.
“We have a lot of state experience coming back next year, but right now we’re happy for the seniors and the way they went out,” Tyler said. “There has been a legacy and a precedent set at Edwardsville High School and I think (these seniors) did a very good job of carrying on that torch. These seniors have done a great job representing the Edwardsville community on and off the course. I couldn’t be happier for them.”
It’s all about getting better for next season now, as coaches and as players. Tyler knows he and Wright can always get better. At just 32 years old, Tyler still has a lot to learn.
“You’ll always have certain situations you can handle better,” Tyler said. “By no means am I a perfect coach after one year and I’ll take any advice I can get to become a better coach.”