Swing of Success
Center Grove Golfers Notch Multiple 2020 Victories
The year 2020 will long be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, for golfers in the Center Grove area, it has been a most memorable summer.
It all began with the Center Grove High School boys golf team winning the Indiana Golf Association state title by one stroke over Carmel at Purdue University in early June. Center Grove seniors Alex Heck, Peyton Short and Caleb Tidd led the five-player team in what would be their final tournament as high school teammates.
“I couldn’t ask for a better way to go out, especially with these guys,” Heck says.
“They’re my best friends. I’m really blessed to go out the way we did.”
Heck also ended his illustrious high school career as the individual state champion.
“I didn’t know where I stood on the final day so I just tried to do my best,” Heck says.
The 2020 IHSAA springs sports season, including boys golf, was cancelled due to the pandemic. Tidd was thankful for the opportunity to compete in one final state tournament.
“The effort to put this event on was fantastic,” he says. “The community they brought in to set this up was outstanding. I can’t thank the guys at Purdue enough and the Indiana Golf Association for what they did for us. Our goal was to go out and win state our senior year, and our two juniors [Sam Slaughter and Brandon Heffner] wanted to be on that trip too.”
Christopher Heck, a 2015 Center Grove graduate and golf standout, coached the team in the state tournament. Coaching his younger brother Alex and the other two seniors is something he will cherish forever.
“It was really special walking down 18 with [Alex],” Christopher Heck says. “To close out the way they did, especially for the three seniors, was just really cool to be a part of.”
The day after the Center Grove boys won the state title, 2019 Center Grove graduate and Duke University golfer Erica Shepherd won the Indiana Women’s State Amateur Championship by four strokes at Old Oakland Golf Club in Indianapolis.
“It means a lot to win my first-ever Indiana Women’s State Amateur Championship title,” Shepherd says. “Everyone who knows me knows that I love where I’m from. I love Indiana. Just to be able to finally win after so many years of competing in this event truly means a lot. I’m super proud of it.”
By mid-June, the Center Grove golf community had notched a team state title and two individual state championships.
Noah Gillard, a 2018 Center Grove graduate, 2017 IHSAA state medalist and University of Illinois golfer, added not one, but two more titles to this impressive list of championships. Gillard captured the Indiana Men’s State Amateur Championship by five shots at the Country Club of Indianapolis in late June.
“It was pretty neat to win it, especially having my dad on the bag,” Gillard says. “We had a really good game plan all week. I worked pretty hard in advance and was fortunate to come out with a win.”
Gillard scored his second major title with the Indiana Golf Association Match Play Championship at Purdue in early July.
The Center Grove High School girls golf season is scheduled to begin in August. Meg Fosnot of Center Grove has played in numerous golf events in central Indiana this past summer to prepare herself for her senior season. She has also played in several tournaments, knowing the pandemic could potentially cause a cancellation of the fall sports season. Fosnot sits atop the leader board in points for Indiana Junior Golf, tallying 11 first-place finishes.
“I began this summer determined to put in the hard work every day to be successful,” Fosnot says. “Every round this summer was another opportunity to get better, and a challenge to prove myself. Behind this successful summer was a great support system with my family, coaches and peers. I look forward to competing in my senior year at Center Grove.”
While most would prefer a mulligan for the year 2020, the summer of 2020 will be remembered by many Center Grove area golfers as “The Summer of Champions”.