Ichabods falter in final round of MIAA tourney

#Winning Despite a second place team finish by the Ichabods in the MIAA Championship, senior golfer Riley Piles won the individual championship with a 6-under 210.

The MIAA Men’s Golf Championship tournament in Smithville, Mo., turned out to be a bittersweet one for senior Riley Piles.

Despite winning the tournament individually with a 6-under 210, the Washburn Ichabod golf team fell just short of the team championship, finishing second in the tournament for the third year in a row. The last time Washburn won the MIAA Championship was during the 2008-09 season, led by a second-place, 3-over 216 finish by All-American Matt Ewald.

“Golf is a weird sport. It’s an individual sport played as a team,” said Piles, who played as an individual during the Ichabods’ 2008-09 MIAA championship. “You have to be selfish and play for yourself, but to reach a common goal.”

The Ichabods were less than thrilled with the Outlaw Golf Course at Paradise Point Golf Complex after a windy Sunday practice round.

“It was so windy at times Sunday that it was almost pointless to be out there,” said Piles. “Sunday after we got done, I hated it.”

Washburn overcame their frustrations with the course on Monday, April 16. The wind died down and the Bods jumped out to a seven-shot lead over Central Missouri after two rounds of play. Piles led the Ichabods and the tournament field after shooting a pair of 71’s that gave him a 2-under 142 going into the final round.

Fellow senior Chris Grause was tied for second after rounds of 74 and 71. Junior Nathan Hoefflin had a 4-over 148 and fellow classmate Brian Walker had a 6-over 150. Senior Ben Moser shot an 11-over 155 after scores of 74 and 81.The Ichabods failed to put away the Mules, however, and surrendered their top spot during the final round of play Tuesday.

“I feel like we played really well the first round,” said Piles. “We just let it slip a little bit the second round.”

Piles finished strong in the final round with a 68 in the last 18 holes to earn the individual conference title with a 6-under 210 in the tournament. He garnered All-MIAA Golf Team honors, but could not contain his disappointment after the Ichabods failed to win the championship title despite leading after two rounds.

“It’s gratifying to win, but when I left the course I didn’t feel happy because as a team we ended poorly,” said Piles.

Grause slipped from his second place spot to tie for fifth with a 4-over 220 after shooting a 75 in the final round. Walker tied for 11th with a 226 while Hoefflin struggled Tuesday with a score of 81 to knock him from fifth place all the way to tie fovr 17th. Moser tied for 24th with a 16-over 232.

Washburn needed to win the tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They also needed Central Missouri to falter to win the outright MIAA title but the Mules made a comeback Tuesday to win by four shots. Washburn finished with a team score of 881, just short of the Mules 877.

“We just have to look forward to the next tournaments,” said Piles.

Washburn will head to Jefferson City, Mo., as Lincoln University hosts the NCAA Midwest/South Central Regional Tournament.