Kapaun rallies for state title, Newton golfer makes cut

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Mill Valley senior Nicklaus Mason claimed top medal honors at the Class 5A state tournament Tuesday at Sand Creek Station. The K-State signee finished five under par, winning the tournament by a stroke.
Newton junior Caleb Koontz tied for 37th at the Class 5A state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Sand Creek Station. Koontz finished the tournament just eight strokes off a medal.

Down 10 strokes going into the final nine holes of the Class 5A state boys’ golf tournament at Sand Creek Station, Kapaun-Mt. Carmel was able to charge down the stretch and claim the team title.

The Crusaders shot a team score of 607, two strokes better than St. Thomas Aquainas. Maize South was third at 613, followed by Blue Valley Southwest at 623, Bishop Carroll at 634 and Great Bend at 656.

“It was a hard-fought battle,” Kapaun coach Corey Novascone said. “These kids have been known to be a back-nine team. That was evident today. We always get off to a rough start. I’m just very proud of them.”

The Crusaders were led by senior Brent Reintjes, who finished third at 142, three strokes off the lead. Reintjes shot a tournament-best round of 64 to finish play.

“Our senior Brent Reintjes was eight-under today, and that was just a magical round,” Novascone said. “I knew he had it in him his entire career. It just needed to come out and it came out today on his last round as a senior. We had a really good chat last night. I told him to go out. He had nothing to lose.”

Novascone is in his first season as KMC’s coach. The team had to overcome the loss of a top player because of injury.

“We lost Conner Geist to a severe back injury about four weeks ago,” Novascone said. “The wind was let out of our sails. To win this, the other guys really stepped up.”

Reintjes is the sole senior for Kapaun’s varsity side.

“We hope to be back again next year and healthy,” Novascone said.

When your first name is the same as one of golf great’s last names, something just might be expected of you.

Mill Valley’ senior Nicklaus Mason shares part of a name with the “Golden Bear” Jack Nicklaus. Mason also claimed top medalist honors at the state meet, finishing five-under par at 139. Mason shot a four-under 68 in his final round.

“I really just kept it in play off the tee,” Mason said. “I gave myself a lot of opportunities to attack the flags and was lucky enough to make a few putts out there.”

Mason took second in Class 6A two years ago as a sophomore. He said he got off to a slow start this season.

“I didn’t play my best at the time,” Mason said. “In the middle of the season, it kind of just clicked and I won two tournaments in a row. I carried it into the post-season, which was nice. I played this course a bunch the last couple of years. I played it the past couple of summers in tournaments, which is nice. I played the Railer and a couple of other tournaments.”

Mason is a Kansas State signee. He plans a busy summer to prepare for college play.

“I’m excited for that,” Mason said. “I plan to play a lot of summer tournaments to get ready for the fall.”

Michael Winslow of St. Thomas Aquinas finished second, one stroke behind Mason. Winslow started the day tied, but was five strokes down going into the final nine holes.

“It’s crazy,” Winslow said. “I didn’t know where anyone was all day, which was kind of good for me. When I made the turn, I was one over and not in the greatest spot. I was patient with myself. I played well on the back nine. I’ve been playing well on the back nine all year. I knew something was going to happen. I played slow on the back nine. I was even through 13, but made a birdie on 14, 15 and 16. On 17, I came up a little shot and I finished with a birdie on 18.”

Winslow, a senior, said he’s going to take a gap year before deciding on a college.

“I’m going to take some classes from our community college in town,” Winslow said. “I’m going to play a lot of golf and travel. I’ll play in a lot of (amateur) tournaments and look for the right school. It should be exciting. I’m going to have a pretty busy schedule this summer. I’m booked every week or every other week. June and July are really packed. I’m playing in the Souther and Western juniors, and hopefully the U.S. Junior and U.S. Am.”

Winslow said he spent his junior year taking online classes and didn’t attend Aquinas.

“It kind of worked out in a way,” Winslow said. “I was just going to play a lot of golf and do my school online. Then COVID happened and I didn’t miss much. I didn’t play any tournaments in the spring.”

Newton junior Caleb Koontz cut five stokes off his first round score to finish at 85-80—165, taking 37th place. Koontz missed medal contention by eight strokes.

“I thought I played well,” Koontz said. “I had two holes that went rough, but other than that, it went great. Everything was going well. … The driver was working and the irons were working great. I couldn’t quite get the putter going, but other than that, everything went pretty good.”

Since the new, two-day format was introduced, Koontz is the first Railer boy to make the cut to the championship round.

“That’s pretty cool,” Koontz said. “It’s been a great season. I’ve had so much fun. I love golf.”

Koontz said he has a busy summer planned to prepare for his senior year.

“I’m going to play a lot of summer golf,” he said. “I’m going to play a lot of inter-club, where you just play a lot of holes. I’ll try and get in more summer tournaments. I’m going to work on my game a lot in the summer and keep improving. This is a pretty big incentive. Seeing what I can do, I’ll be excited to see that come to fruition for next year.”

Class 5A State Golf

Monday and Tuesday

Sand Creek Station

Par 72

Team scores — Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 313-294—607, St. Thomas Aquinas 309-300—609, Maize South 313-300—613, Blue Valley Southwest 314-309—623, Bishop Carroll 317-317—634, Great Bend 331-325—656. Missed Day 2 Team Cut: Goddard Eisenhower 335, St. James Academy 344, Shawnee Heights 346, Hays 354, Topeka-Seaman 357, Basehor-Linwood 359.

No team score: Mill Valley, Arkansas City, Andover, Maize, Emporia, Andover Central, Valley Center, DeSoto, Leavenworth, Topeka West, Newton, Salina Central, Bonner Springs, Kansas City Piper, Pittsburg.

Medalists — 1. Nicklaus Mason MV 71-68—139, 2. Michael Winslow STA 71-69—140, 3. Brent Reintjes KMC 78-64—142, 4. Asher Whitaker KMC 73-71—144, 5. Joseph Langstraat BL 73-72—145, 6. Alex Valdivia SH 76-71—147, 7. Trent Sutherland Ark.Cty. 77-72—149, 8. Connor Hanrahan STA 76-74—150, 9. Taben Armstrong MS 76-75—151, 9. Cole Streck GB 79-72—151, 11. Andrew Lisec BVSW 74-78—152, 11. Grant Waggoner MS 80-72—152, 13. James Hill And. 78-75—153, 14. Austin Goodrum And.Ct. 80-74—154, 14. Noah Holtzman BC 80-74—154, 14. Grier Jones Mai. 79-75—154, 14. Layton Love MS 78-76—154, 14. Carson Wright GE 75-79—154, 19. Braden Loritz BVSW 78-77—155, 20. Braden Crank BVSW 80-77—157, 20. Kyle Kasitz MS 80-77—157, 20. Noah Pirtle KMC 79-78—157.

Remainder of championship field — 23. Caden Bastian VC 81-78—159, 23. James Brennan BC 82-77—159, 23. Jason Krannawitter Hys. 80-79—159, 23. Brookston Sauder Emp. 79-80—159, 27. Zachary Clark SJA 82-78—160, 27. Jeret Handley STA 80-80—160, 27. Caden Massey Emp. 81-79—160, 28. Grayson Murphy BC 76-85—161, 28. Henry Reeg BVSW 84-77—161, 32. Myles King STA 85-77—162, 33. Brantley Baldwin GB 78-85—163, 33. Colby Hays BC 79-84—163, 35. Pearce Lashley BC 82-82—164, 35. William (Quaid) Oliver KMC 83-81—164, 35. Wyatt Powell BL 86-78—164, 35. Nicholas Tranbarger DeS. 84-80—164, 37. Myles Alonzo TW 85-80—165, 37. McHarlan Bishop STA 82-83—165, 37. Emery Kaylor GE 83-82—165, 37. Caleb Koontz New. 85-80—165, 43. Matthew Turpen BVSW 82-84—166, 44. Thomas (TJ) Baker SJA 81-87—168, 44. Gabe Grier KMC 84-84—168, 44. Ethan Rottinghaus SH 86-82—168, 47. Spencer Goering MS 79-90—169, 47. Evan Johnson BVSW 86-83—169, 47. Joseph Vance STA 84-85—169, 50. Cal Dunekack GB 88-82—170, 50. Gavin Wilhelm TS 86-84—170, 52. Scott Heilman GB 86-86—172, 52. Braden Hoskins Hys. 86-86—172, 54. Jack Stuckey BC 86-87—173, 55. Spencer Seachris KMC 94-89—183, 56. Maverick Guinn MS 98-90—188, 57. Cayden Bouse GB 101-90—191.

Failed to make cut — Jonathan "Jack" Elliott GE 88, Reid Cowan TS 89, Brody Scafe GE 89, Weston Hoskins Hys. 90, Robert Thomas SJA 90, John Weber MV 90, Luke Davis SJA 91, Aiden Jones SH 91, Jake Moss TS 91, Zach Weir TS 91, Jack Bakerink DeS. 93, Tyler Peterson SH 93, Jonah Barrette Leav. 94, Codey Geis MV 94, Collister Ryan SC 95, William Ryan SC 95, Timothy Biggs TS 96, Hunter Meyer DeS. 96, Parker Steven GE 96, Willliam Ediger SJA 97, Tyler Hardtarfer GE 97, Taylor Tenpenny TS 97, Tanner Zerger SH 97, Blake Buckles Hys. 98, Jacob Lowe BL 98, Kyler Ortiz SH 98, Caleb Schram Bon.Spr. 98, Titus Conrad KCP 99, Noah Niederklein Pit. 101, Ashton Hernandez Hys. 102, Carson Strah BL 102, Landen Clark Hys. 107, Brayden Strah BL 107, Nicholas Jaworski SJA 108, Jason Smith BL 108.

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com