Cicero — Scores were a little higher all around than Zionsville head golf coach Steve Simmons expected Monday afternoon at the HCC Tournament at Bear Slide.
The wet conditions made things tough on all the competitors, but in the end the the Eagles gave themselves a shot at the conference title, only to fall a few shots short.
The eighth-ranked Eagles were third with a 316, with No. 13 Hamilton Southeastern winning with a 312 and No. 3 Noblesville placing second with a 313.
"The scores were really high today," Simmons said. "Coming into it, I felt like 305 was going to be the winning score, and I felt like that's what we needed to shoot. As the day wore on, we had ball in hand, so I knew we were going to have a chance to make some birdies, and we did early. I didn't think we played too poorly on the front, but we let a lot of things go on the back. And against the type of competition we are going against, you just can't do that."
The Eagles were in the hunt at the turn, shooting a 156 and were just in two shots behind Hamilton Southeastern for the lead.
But on the back, the Eagles were a few shots higher and couldn't get any momentum going.
Simmons said nothing in particular stood out about what the difference was on back-nine.
"I can't really pinpoint anything," Simmons said. "We are really dependent on our top three guys and they have been so good all year. When they struggle a little bit, it is just difficult to compete. You have to have four scores, and we got some great play from Evan Poland, shooting a career-low 77 to make all-conference, and Jack Hidde had a solid 80 today to make all-conference. It was great to get Eric Herbst and Colin (Nasser) on there too, but both of them will tell you that wasn't their best effort today, they were looking for something a little bit better than that."
Poland led the Eagles with a 77, and was tied for third overall in the tournament.
Simmons said he hopes it is a round that push him forward the rest of the year.
"We have been looking for that fifth-player score and we got it today," Simmons said. "I am thrilled for him and he has put in a lot of hard work. Hopefully he can build on this and we can continue to go forward with that."
Poland made the 12-player all-HCC team, as did Eric Herbst (79), Jack Hidde (80) and Colin Nasser (80).
Reid VonDielingen shot an 84 for the Eagles, who have just three weeks before the sectional.
They are back in action at Smock on Thursday afternoon to face Roncalli and Brownsburg, and then play in the Washington Invite at Country Oaks on Saturday, May 18.
Simmons said the Eagles will be looking to manage their workload during this busy time of the school year.
"I'm not worried about Reid, Colin and Eric right now," Simmons said. "I know that we are going to be playing better golf in a week. They have finals going on, and you are looking at kids that are top-20 in their class. They push themselves hard in the classroom, and quite frankly, we are exhausted as a team. We are going to take a day off tomorrow, we have a really light week ahead of us and we will be prepared coming down the stretch to the sectional."