PV boys’ golf dominates the MAC

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Nathan Tillman

The PV Boys’ Golf Team poses after their MAC victory at Midland Hills Golf Club in Kewanee, Illinois.

Erika Holmberg, Copy Editor

Victory is nothing new to the PV boys’ golf team–and neither is being the underdog.

Fueled by an impressive two-day total of 147 by senior Nathan Tillman and a solid 154 by junior Sam Johnson, the PV boys’ golf team earned their fifth straight Mississippi Athletic Conference (MAC) title on the challenging two-day battle at Midland Golf Club in Kewanee, Illinois, on Sept. 24 and 25. 

Leading by a substantial 52 strokes over North Scott, PV’s defiant victory did not come without its own challenges. 

After graduating two well-accoladed All-State seniors last season, Jack Dumas and Jack Roemer, skepticism of the quality of the boys’ team grew. Many questioned if the team could live up to its high standards set in previous years. 

But no amount of naysayers could silence the boys’ dominant performances over the past few weeks. 

Racking up a total of six wins including another MAC title, PV has shown no signs of letting up. Despite there being only one senior currently playing on the varsity team, the boys have proved that age does not define their talent. 

Every member of the boys’ team contributed to the MAC win, but one athlete stood out in particular. 

Overshadowed throughout the first three years of high school, Tillman has been a key member of the team’s success over the past four years. Tillman led his team to MAC victory and landed himself an individual MAC win after coming from behind after a shaky start.

“I’m pleased with how I played at MAC. I struggled starting off both days, but finished strong when I needed to. The team played pretty well in the tough conditions. We all left some shots out there, but we’re getting closer to where we want to be,” said Tillman. 

Tillman’s defiant victory was not the only win for the Spartans. Five of the six varsity players placed in the top 10 individually, a feat that no other team in the MAC came close to achieving. 

With a very young and inexperienced lineup this season, there was a lot of uncertainty as to how the team would perform at a tournament with such high stakes. Head varsity boys’ and girls’ golf coach Mike Nedelcoff never once doubted the ability of his team. 

“When I first joined this program a few years ago, the biggest thing I emphasized was that we would never move backwards, no matter the team or the circumstances. This program was built for every kid, and as long as those kids stay motivated, then PV boys’ golf will always have a chance,” Nedelcoff stated. 

Even after a dominating MAC performance and regionals just around the corner, the boys have an even bigger goal in mind. 

“Our goal is to win a state championship. That’s been the goal since the season ended last year. It’s easier said than done, but we can win if we play to our potential,” exclaimed Tillman.

The Class 4A Boys’ District Tournament will be held Oct. 5 at Burlington Golf Club. The top three teams will advance to the state tournament at Beaver Hills Golf Course in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Oct. 8 and 9. 

For the boys to advance to and win state, they will need to keep up their rigorous practices and prepare for the weather elements ahead.

“We ultimately just need to stick with our game plan and prepare for the colder weather that is to come. In the cold, it’s easier for players to miss more greens in regulation, so we have been working hard on our shots from 20 yards and in. As long as we adequately prepare, then we will have a chance,” stated Nedelcoff.

A MAC win is just the beginning for these boys. They have a big goal in mind, and they are not finished yet.