COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge coach Doug Daniels waited at the edge of the 18th green for the rest of the golfers to finish their rounds.
The Bruins' top two golfers, Matt Echelmeier and Jack Knoesel, stood side by side with their coach. The sophomores got the team off to a good start with Echelmeier shooting 76 and Knoesel turning in a 78. The Bruins needed one more low score to clinch the Class 4 Sectional tournament Monday at Eagle Knoll Golf Course in Hartsburg.
Junior Jackson Dubinski, the last golfer for the Bruins, didn't disappoint his teammates. He finished with a 78 to propel Rock Bridge to the championship of the seven-team event.
Led by Echelmeier, who was second in the individual results, Knoesel and Dubinski, who tied for fourth, the Bruins registered a team score of 319. Kickapoo finished in second place with a 328. Both teams earned trips to the state tournament.
Daniels credited his team's ability to manage an unfamiliar and difficult course to win the sectional tournament.
"Eagle Knoll is tough, anyone that plays here will tell you that," Daniels said. "What they're going to face next week won't be anymore difficult than this place is."
Daniels said he hopes his team's strong play Monday will carry over to a bigger stage next Monday. Although the team is young, compiled of four sophomores and one junior, Daniels doesn't think youth or experience will matter too much when his team gets out on the course for the final time.
"They might be a year or two early, but they're going to state next week, so why not now," Daniels said. "I want to see what this team can do."
Rock Bridge is set to compete at the Class 4 state tournament May 13 and May 14 at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield.
The Bruins placed fifth at last year's state meet after winning in 2011 and placing second in 2010. At last year's championship, Echelmeier and Knoesel finished in a three-way tie for 24th with a golfer from Francis Howell.
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