BY JEFF FALK
There are two athletic interpretations of the word ‘best’.
The first involves ability and performing as well as one can. The other revolves around personal history and doing something better than one has ever done it before.
Next to the two definitions of the word ‘best’ in the sports dictionary are photos of Evan Dissinger, and the Northern Lebanon golf team.
Both performed as well as they can and better than they ever had before at Tuesday afternoon’s tenth edition of the Lebanon County Scholastic Golf Champi0nship, contested over the Lebanon Country Club’s par-72, 6,361-yard lay-out. Dissinger, a freshman from Cedar Crest, claimed the individual title with a career-best performance, while underdog Northern Lebanon came out of nowhere to win the team championship.
The event served as the 2012 season-finale for every one of its competitors except Palmyra’s Tyler Shank, who is still alive in the regional qualifier for the PIAA Championships.
Dissinger and the Vikings also shared another distinction, for each it was their first ever championship at the Lebanon County Scholastic Tournament.
With identical nines of 39, Dissinger fired a six-over-par 78 to best runner-up Caleb Ginder of Northern Lebanon by three strokes. Ginder’s Viking teammate Jordan Nichols captured third with an 82, while Shank and fellow Cougar Collin Eisenhour bot carded 83s.
The girls’ individual championship went to Palmyra’s Ceci Richardson, who defeated Haile Hartman of Cedar Crest on the second playoff hole, after both had carded 95s.
Northern Lebanon’s three-man team score of 249 was four shots lower than Cedar Crest’s 253 and seven better than Palmyra’s 256. Annville-Cleona was fourth and Elco fifth, followed by Lebanon Catholic and host Lebanon High.
“I knew we had an outside shot,” said Viking first-year head coach Derek Margetan. “It’s (the title) not something we went in expecting. They (his players) all played to their potential. And that’s what we haven’t done all year.
“Coming in, it was Palmyra and Cedar Crest who were the co-favorites,” Margetan added. “I wouldn’t have favored one over the other.”
“Yes, this is one of the best rounds of my life,” said Dissinger, who was as under-stated as his game was steady. “I wasn’t really expecting to win it. I was expecting to finish in the top five.”
Before yesterday, Dissinger’s best round of the season had been an 84 at Fairview Golf Course.
Dissinger, who began his round on the eighth hole, registered but a single birdie – at the 300-yard, par-four 17th hole. But the frosh kept things together with damage control and 12 pars.
“I played well,” said Dissinger. “I made two doubles (bogeys) and a lot of pars. Yeah, par is definitely a good score out here.
In light of a double-bogey at the par-four 13th, Dissinger was five-over par after his first 11 holes. That was before he double bogeyed LOC’s 377-yard, par-four opening test.
But instead of folding his tent, Dissinger responded with pars on five of his final six holes to win going away.
“I knew I was playing well,” said Dissinger, who prefers golf over basketball and baseball. “I thought I had a chance if I finished well. I was kind of confident about it. I didn’t have many good rounds this season. But I had been playing well on my own and in practice.
“I took a double (bogey) on One when my ball stuck in a tree,” Dissinger added. “But then I came back and made two pars. If you don’t pull it together there, it (the struggle) could just keep going.”
“Caleb Ginder played well for us. And Carl Johnson has been solid for us all year,” said Margetan, whose team finished fourth in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. “But Jordan Nichols shot the best competitive round of his life. We knew we had a shot. We knew we could win, but we had to have everyone.
“This is a beautiful course,” Margetan continued. “I don’t think it was playing particularly east. The greens were in great shape. But our kids aren’t used to playing on these greens. I give them credit.”
Shank birdied the 491-yard, par-five seventh, but recorded a double bogey at the par-five 15th. He managed only eight pars along the way.
Thanks to a birdie at the par-five tenth, Eisenhour was even par through his five holes, but 11-over par over his final 13.