CLAYTON -- Eric Whitaker's one-under par 70, led the North Putnam Cougars golf team to its first West Central Conference in more than 30 years, defeating county rival Greencastle Saturday.
"I'm just so happy for this group of kids," NPHS coach Keith Bodnarick. "I'm so blessed to have an opportunity to work with a group that literally puts everything they have into this team.
"They work so hard and I knew that eventually that kind of dedication was going to pay off," he added.
Whitaker's one-under performance set a school record as well as the overall team score of 310.
"North made a statement, today," GHS coach Donovan Wheeler said. "They played, performed, and conducted themselves the way that a championship team should. I hate to lose, but it's easier to take when a group does it the way they did."
"Eric Whitaker had a great round," CHS coach Doug Wokoun said.
The rest of the North Putnam squad also finished the day well, with four golfers receiving all-conference honors.
Patrick Burns shot a 78, J.J. Burns fired an 80, Austin Malayer shot an 82 to join Whitaker on the All-Conference team.
Greencastle, who finished 18-shots back, shot a 328 to secure second place. Eric Davis led the Tiger Cubs with a 76. Luke Crimmins shot an 81 and David Lilly finished well with an 82. All three Tiger Cub golfers earned All-Conference honors.
"Three scores ended it for us. First was Whitaker's 70. A score like that is hard to make up for if you don't have two of your own match it or come close. Second was the 89 we had to count. Third was David's (Lilly) round, which was higher than either of us would have liked. When you only get two good scores out of five, it's hard to get it done," Wheeler said.
Rounding out the top three county teams, was the Cloverdale Clovers. Cloverdale slipped past Cascade, 337-338, to captured the third spot and placed Justin Hacker on the All-Conference team, after his 83-stroke performance.
"Justin was the odd man out at county," Wokoun said. "He did a great job of putting that behind him and having a solid conference effort.
"I am very proud of his effort and he is very deserving of his all-conference honors."
South Putnam finished fifth, with a team total of 359. The Eagles were led by Tyler Newby's 79, which placed him on the All-Conference team.
The Cougars were still gathering itself from a second-place finish at county Thursday night, when Bodnarick challenged his team and reminded his team of the big picture.
"We basically decided as a team that we were tired of making excuses for not winning championships," Bodnarick said.
"I told our kids that I felt like we gave one away at county on Thursday and that if we didn't want our legacy to be what could have been, we were going to have to put up or shut up."
Bodnarick was also happy with the play from Whitaker, who leveled his game and played consistent golf, and was pleased with comments from people outside the team.
"I think my proudest moment came when I had so many people coming up to me, telling me how impressed they were with the character of our kids," Bodnarick commented.
"As a coach, that's honestly what it's all about and that means so much more than any championship."
North Putnam will host Monrovia today at 4:30 p.m., while Greencastle will travel to Owen Valley at 4:30 p.m. Cloverdale will host Cascade today at 4 p.m. and South Putnam will host Riverton Parke today at 4:30 p.m.
Deer Creek Golf Course
2007 WCC Golf Tournament
North Putnam 310, Greencastle 328, Cloverdale 337,
Cascade 338, South Putnam 359, Speedway 365, Monrovia 378.
All-Conference -- Whitaker (NP), Davis (GHS), Byrd (NP), Newby (SP), Burns (NP), Arthur (Cascade), Crimmins (GHS), Malayer (NP), Lilly (GHS), Gist (Cascade), Hacker (CHS).
Team Scores (County schools only)
North Putnam -- Whitaker 70, Byrd 78, Burns 80, Malayer 82, Redman 86.
Greencastle -- Davis 76, Crimmins 81, Lilly 82, Collins 89, Huber 97.
Cloverdale -- Hacker 83, Glassburn 84, Rhine 84, Gregg 86, Cofer 86.
South Putnam -- Newby 79, Weaver 90, Welty 92, Anderson 98, Boyce 99.
Next match -- North Putnam will host Monrovia today at 4:30 p.m., while Greencastle will travel to Owen Valley at 4:30 p.m. Cloverdale will host Cascade today at 4 p.m. and South Putnam will host Riverton Parke today at 4:30 p.m.