St. James Academy senior Jack Reilly progressed each year in the Kansas state golf tournament. He finished fifth in Class 4A as a freshman, fourth in 5A as a sophomore and third in 5A as a junior.
He was eager to continue that movement upward and had a goal of winning individual medalist honors on Tuesday at Newton’s Sand Creek Station.
Reilly finished third again, shooting a 74 and finishing behind Wichita Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Jared Burns, who shot a 4-under 68, and Maize South’s Wells Padgett, who shot a 70.
“I got third last year, so it’s a tad disappointing,” Reilly said.
Teammate Will Wilk shot a 75 and finished fourth after a playoff, and the duo helped St. James finish third as a team. St. James shot a 314 and beat Shawnee Heights on a tie breaker.
Kapaun Mount Carmel won its fourth straight team title, shooting a 298, while Maize South was second with a 306. Blue Valley West finished fifth at 318, and St. Thomas Aquinas was sixth with a 322.
St. James’ tie breaker came down to freshman Frankie Failoni’s 84.
“Major props to that kid,” Reilly said.
St. James coach John Muehlberger said, “He was our fifth score, our 84, and it was his best high school tournament so far. … We finished third at regionals, so we’re not coming in blazing by any means. I thought coming in, top five, realistically, would be a shot for us and a good goal.
“I think we would have had to be at our best to get to Maize (South), and I think Kapaun was probably out of our reach this year. We had our young guys come through. Our other sophomore (Brody Steere) broke 90 in his first state tournament. It’s good for the future.”
Wilk struggled initially in his playoff, hitting his tee shot into the water.
“I decided to play it out, see what I can do,” he said. “He ended up hitting in the water. I saved bogey, he saved bogey.”
And when he was 120 yards out on the next hole, Wilk was confident.
“I’ve been throwing it in all day from there. I decided to attack,” he said. “I threw it at the pin. I hit it within an inch.
“I wanted this all year, wanted top five in state.”
As for Reilly, he worked on his putting for the last week but didn’t get into the rhythm he needed on Tuesday.
“I didn’t roll that many putts. I had 30 putts. It still just didn’t work today,” he said. “It was rough all around, but I got a lot of ups-and-downs. I got 15 pars, so I’ll take that. … It’s just one of those days where you’ll have those good shots and your bad shots.”
Mill Valley’s Jalen Oehlert finished sixth after winning a five-person, five-hole playoff for those who shot a 76. Blue Valley Southwest’s Seth Wingerter was also in the playoff and finished ninth.
On his final hole, Oehlert was clutch.
“I started shaky, into the tall grass, had to put it out onto the fairway, then chip it in from about 15 yards for birdie,” he said.