by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
The Hudson boys golf team is heading to Division I district play.
The Explorers rebounded from a subpar performance with a second-place finish at a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 5 at Windmill Lakes Golf Club in Ravenna.
As a result, Hudson qualified for the district competition, which is scheduled to take place Oct. 10 at Pine Hills Golf Club in Hinckley. The Explorers are set to tee off at 10:30 a.m.
Hudson finished with a score of 310. Walsh Jesuit won the competition with a score of 307. Also advancing to district play were North Royalton (316) and Brecksville-Broadview Heights (323).
Although they won the National Conference title, the Explorers struggled mightily with a 321 at the Suburban League Postseason Tournament in wet conditions.
Things didn't look too promising in the early stages of sectional play for Hudson either.
But the Explorers pulled it together when it really mattered.
"We had a rough start on the first nine when conditions were perfect for scoring," Hudson head coach Dave Kurtz said. "But we played well on the back once the wind picked up and the greens became slick. It was an improvement from last week."
Chagrin Falls' senior Daniel Berlin placed first out of 80 players with a score of 71.
Senior Will Kurtz led the Explorers with a 73. Will Kurtz, who struggled early, finished in a tie for second with Walsh Jesuit senior Conner Evans.
"Will was four over par after six holes," Dave Kurtz said. "He shot one under for his last 12. He's still a little off with his iron game."
Senior Dave Sexton was next for Hudson with a 76.
"Dave was steady all day," Dave Kurtz said.
Also contributing to the Explorers' team score were seniors Johnny Merrill (80) and Nolan Laughlin (81).
"This group of seniors reached the district tournament all four years of their career," Dave Kurtz said. "That speaks to their consistent play."
Will Kurtz, Sexton, Merrill and Laughlin led Hudson to the state tournament in 2014. If they want to conclude their careers at the state competition, they will need to improve their score, according to their coach.
"We will need to be three or four better at Pine Hills," Dave Kurtz said. "They would all tell you that they can improve by a stroke a man."