By CONOR NICHOLL
Last year, Frontenac won a 3A regional championship with 355. Riley Johnson captured the regional with a 77. Vinny Pile earned state medalist honors when he tied for 18th with a 164. Top-20 and ties earn all-state.
That marked the first time Frontenac had a state golf placer since 2011, per KSHSAA archives. Colten Lambron placed 20th, 14th and 18th from ’09-11 at state golf. Before then, Frontenac won regional titles in ’04 and ’06.
Other than Pile and Lamborn, Frontenac’s only other state placers since 1990 are Jason Hill (’94, ’95), Danny Grant (’99) and Derek Merando (’03).
This spring, Frontenac has a great chance to finish with one of the best seasons in school history. Frontenac has won four of six tournaments. Frontenac won its own Frontenac Invitational on April 5, the Baxter Springs Invitational on April 11, St. Mary’s Colgan Invite on April 19, and the Columbus Invite on April 26.
Plus, Frontenac was third at the Fort Scott Invitational on April 18, and ninth at the Webb City/Carl Junction (Mo.) Bird Dog Invitational on April 25. The Bird Dog Invitational had 17 teams in a close race. The top-nine teams were separated by 40 strokes.
At Bird Dog, Pile posted an 80, sophomore Cole Niederklein delivered an 84, sophomore Aidan Hill had a 94, senior Parker Beckmann at 95, and senior Dawson Lapping posted a 106.
Kansas Golf Scores.com, a well-known site, has four of Frontenac’s six tournaments tabulated; all four are in Kansas.
Pile, a sophomore, leads with an adjusted average of 78.7. Niederklein is second at 83.2. Hill is third at 89.4. Senior Parker Beckmann has 94.2, and senior Justice Compton is at 103.9. Senior Dawson Lapping has posted 104.9, and senior Abe Frederick is at 114.7.
Pile ranks No. 55 for all classes in scoring average and third in 3A, behind Santa Fe Trail’s Blake Buessing and Lane Workman. For the Baxter Springs regional, Pile, Niederklein, Hill and Beckmann are 1-2-5-7 in adjusted average.
In 11 career rounds, Pile has averaged an 80.4 with a low of 71. Niederklein has posted an 85.5 with a low of 69.
On April 5, Frontenac won its own tournament with a 300 on par-65 course. Colgan was second at 308. Niederklein, Pile and Hill went 2-3-4 with 69, 71, and 76 respectively.
At the six-team April 11 Baxter Springs Invitational, Frontenac won with 364, 24 shots ahead of St. Mary’s Colgan. Pile picked up medalist honors with a 77. Colgan’s Nick Ison shot a 78, the only other one in the field to break 88.
At the seven-team St. Marys Colgan Invitational on April 19, Frontenac shot a 346 and won the tournament by 17 shots over Erie. Niederklein was third with a 78, and Pile fourth with an 81.
At Columbus on April 26, Frontenac captured the tournament with 341, six ahead of Caney Valley. Pile picked up medalist honors with a 76.