Grain Valley's Herbert, Aldred claim state berths at district tournament

Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner
Grain Valley golfer Charlie Aldred hits an approach shot on the ninth hole during the Class 4 District 4 tournament Monday at the Paradise Pointe Golf Complex's par-72 Posse course. Aldred fired an 85 to earn a state berth along with teammate Owen Herbert, who shot 84.

One of the best seasons for the Grain Valley boys golf team in recent years will continue.

The Eagles, a week after winning their first conference title in program his finished sixth as a team at the Class 4 District 4 tournament Monday at the par-72 Posse course at Paradise Pointe Golf Complex in Smithville.

After winning a conference title for the first time in school history last week, Grain Valley is sending two golfers to the state championships – the first qualifiers since 2009.

Sophomore Owen Herbert shot a 12-over 84 to tie for 10th place and freshman Charlie Aldred was one shot behind with an 85 to tie for 13th.

Those were the only two qualifiers as the cut line to get to state was 88 – meaning junior Connor Nadeau joined Platte County’s Parker Amos as the first golfer to miss the cut by shooting 89 and just missing a trip to Joplin for the Class 4 championships next Monday and Tuesday.

“We are excited for Owen and Charlie,” said Grain Valley coach Andy Herbert, Owen’s father. “They did a good job. When you play a game like golf, in the back of your mind you are thinking ‘I gotta shoot this or I gotta do this to play again,’ – not a lot of sports you do that. Connor is disappointed. For him to play as well as he did under pressure speaks well for the future.”

Grain Valley was among some of the first of the 13 full teams to get into the clubhouse after playing The Posse course. Most of the qualifiers came from the first six teams in and the Eagles finished sixth with a score of 359 – 35 back of district champion Smithville (324).

At one point the cut line was 91 – which would’ve meant Nadeau would’ve made it – but more scores came in later to change things.

Only eight golfers had lower scores than Herbert, who didn’t have a birdie among his 18 holes but used strong putting to save pars or keep a double bogey from happening.

“It means everything,” Owen Herbert said of qualifying for state in his first season after his initial one was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve been practicing and preparing for this for a long time. My dad has been the coach for almost 20 years, so I know how it works. It definitely feels great. We haven’t had a really good team in Grain Valley in a few years, so it is cool to not get one, but two, to go to state.”

The state tournament will be held at Twin Hills Country Club in Joplin. Due to changes in qualifications this year, only the top 18 golfers qualified and MSHSAA did away with the top two teams automatically advancing to the state championships.

The change meant a team would have to have four qualify out of districts to have a team score at state. After the completion of the other three districts, Springfield Glendale will be the state champion as it is the only school to have four state qualifiers.

Fort Osage’s Mallecki Terrazas, after winning the Suburban Middle Six individual title with a 76 last week, just missed the cutoff after shooting 91, three strokes away. Luke Ross shot 93 for the Indians, who finished ninth in the team standings with a score of 411.

Chrisman’s best score belonged to Zach Heckman, who shot 127, as the Bears didn’t have enough golfers to qualify as a team. Jake Kates, who earned all-conference honors last week, was scratched before competition started. Coach John Beaman noted he and Kates discussed playing in districts and with a likely conflict with a baseball game against Raytown South, Kates withdrew from the tournament.