It's been 27 years since the Central Catholic boys golf team won a state championship. But don't tell that to this year's group of players.

It's been 27 years since the Central Catholic boys golf team won a state championship. But don't tell that to this year's group of players.

“Every year our goal is to win a state championship,” senior Drew Savage said.  “The way we've played right now anything less than that would be a letdown.”

After winning their second consecutive district championship this group of players knows a little bit about success on the golf course. The program has won the district championship four of the last five years and have been runner-up four times since coach Dave Oates took over the program 18 years ago.

“I don't want to say it would be a disappointing season if we don't win a state championship,” Oates said. “But I think it's important that you set that goal.”

This group of Central Catholic golfers consisting of Jarrod Kasunick, Mark Mokros, Ryan Mallette, Drew Savage, and Evan Jenkins has something that stands out to coach Oates.

“This group is extremely close,” Oates said.  “This is a group that has been together for a few years now.  They've always been pretty tight with one another.”

In a sport like golf, where individual competition can sometimes discourage team bonding, the Central Catholic boys' golf team has put those emotions aside in their effort to push one another and win as a team.

“I walk down the fairway and Ryan says, ‘hey I bet you can't beat me today,’” Savage said.

It's that type of atmosphere that teammates say has helped them in their success on the golf course and pursuit of a state championship.

“These are my best friends,” junior Evan Jenkins said.

The closeness of the team is evident to Oates who says that the most important thing for this team is winning as a group.

“As long as one of those guys plays good they don't care if they are the low score,” Oates said. “You don't always see that with an individual sport. Bottom line is that they really care about one another and I think that's extremely important.”

Oates also credits senior leadership over the years as setting an example for younger players to follow.

“That's the benefit of the program is we've been good for a long time and we have great senior leaders,” Oates said. “These guys see what it takes to be successful.”

What also stands out to Oates about this team is its depth. Almost all of the players on the team have won individual tournaments. The fact that the team is not dependent on one guy is critical especially while in pursuit of a state title.

“I think we have a tremendous amount of depth this year, maybe more so than we've had on some other teams,” Oates said. “Which certainly helps that any of the five guys can go out and shoot a good score. “

This is the fifth year in a row that the boys' golf team will be in Columbus competing for a state championship.  The players are confident that they can bring home a state championship but more importantly they are doing it as a team.

“They're very confident,” Oates said.  “If we go out and play like we're capable of playing we should be right in the hunt and have an opportunity.”

Still, even though the goal is high Oates knows that this season will be a year to remember for this group of golfers.

“They're going to look back on the year regardless of whether we finish first or twelfth that it was a great year.”