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Truckee golfers take second in state tournament with late decision

JAMES BALL

Controversial to say the least.

For four days after the final round of the Nevada golf state championship, it was unclear which team was the state champion, with Truckee and Virgin Valley tied at 805 for a two-day total.

In the end, though, it was Nevada Interscholastic Activity Association Director Jerry Hughes who made the call: despite the tie, Virgin Valley was declared state champions, dashing Truckee’s title hopes and leaving the Wolverines to wonder “why?”

Yet, in all the confusion and controversy, Truckee’s Chris Gerdin won the individual state championship, something no Virgin Valley golfer could claim.

Round one

Truckee won the first day of play on the Palms course with a 392.

Virgin Valley followed with a 398.

The nearest competitor to the two schools was Boulder City with a 422.

In this round, Gerdin began stalking the individual championship with a 77.

Tony Neadeau and Nick Franklin shot 77, as well. Matt Lundbeck shot 80, Jon Reedy 81 and Mark Lundbeck 84.

Round two

On the second day, Truckee faltered slightly, shooting a 413, while Virgin Valley shot a 407, tying the two teams for the championship.

Meanwhile, Mark Lundbeck shot 78, which head coach Brian Felberg called “outstanding.”

Neadeau and Gerdin each shot 79.

Gerdin crushed his drive on the 18th hole, leaving a 40-yard wedge shot on the 345-yard par-four hole.

Gerdin then knocked the ball three feet from the pin and sank the birdie for a final round 77.

He was then pitted against Moapa Valley’s Ricky Metz in a sudden-death play-off for the individual state title.

It didn’t take Gerdin long; he won the title on the first hole of playoff.

Signs of trouble

After Gerdin claimed the title, Felberg began discussion over the controversial decision to not declare a state champion.

“The tie-breaking system was found to be quite flawed,” Felberg said.

According to Felberg, the newest rules from the Nevada Interscholastic Activity Association state that in case of a tie, the team with the lowest six-man aggregate score wins.

Taking one instance of six-man scoring, Truckee shot 172 and Virgin Valley had 174, which would seem to give Truckee the win outright.

But the tournament director (coincidentally the athletic director at Virgin Valley) would not accept the rule.

According to Felberg, he found an old NIAA rule book which stated, in case of a tie, the combined total of the five lowest players for two days would be added, with the lower of the two scores winning.

In this case, Virgin Valley would win the championship, but the rule was out of force.

Arbitration

After two hours of deliberation, it was agreed to call NIAA director Jerry Hughes to let him review the situation.

Hughes then made the announcement that he would have a decision by Tuesday afternoon.

“The most recent (rules) should take precedence,” Felberg said before the decision. “It all comes down to one thing; both teams were robbed of that championship moment by improperly-worded rules.”

Hughes said, “Quite frankly, I can’t believe we had a tie. It’s even more bizarre the second time in two years.”

Hughes was referring to last year’s tie in the golf championship between two 4A schools.

Last year, the situation was resolved similarly, employing the six-man rule, Hughes said.

“We’re going to need to upgrade that a little,” Hughes said in reference to the ambiguous rules.

After the decision late Tuesday, Hughes said Truckee lost the tie-breaker by two strokes.

At press time Tuesday, Felberg could not be reached for comment and it was unclear what appeals options might be available for the Truckee team.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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