Nick Mejia and the Marriotts Ridge boys golf team saved their best for last.
Playing in the final tri-match of the regular season, against Atholton and undefeated Glenelg at Waverly Woods on Wednesday, the Mustangs got a season-high 29 points (2-under-par) from Mejia on the way to a season-best 103 points as team. The victory secures Marriotts Ridge an undefeated season (11-0) and the program's second consecutive county championship.
"These kids all have enough experience that they know how and when to turn it on," Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs said. "They know that peaking at the right time of the of the season is key to what their goals are. That's why they are so relaxed in these situations and they are able to execute so well under pressure."
Glenelg (10-1), which got a 29-point individual round of its own from Steven Segrist, ended up second with 88 points, while Atholton (6-5) rounded things out with a total of 77. The match was the make-up of one that had been postponed in early September.
The delay didn't seem to have any ill effects on Marriotts Ridge, though.
The Mustangs came roaring out of the gates with hot starts from Mejia and Bennett Buch (26 points) and actually sat at just three-over-par as a team through the first seven holes.
Mejia said the magnitude of the match played a role in the team being extra focused.
"Being against Glenelg and Atholton, two of our biggest competitors, I think we all knew that we had to be at our best," Mejia said. "I know for me, I haven't been contributing as much this season, so I wanted to play well and do my part today."
Mejia, whose season average was several points lower than a season ago coming into the match, was coming off a tie for third at the county championship tournament a day earlier.
He seemed to carry that momentum into Wednesday's match, as he started with five straight pars and then proceeded to make three consecutive birdies. If not for a bogey on the final hole, Mejia would have posted the Mustangs' first 30-point effort of the season.
Mejia said afterward that it feels good to be piecing things together as the stakes get higher.
"Earlier in the season, I decided to change some things that I knew were going to affect me in the short term but I knew long term they were going to pay off," Mejia said. "I think you are starting to see some of that now and that's why my scores have been better."
Buch's round included a birdie and two bogies on the way to the one-over par round. Jackson Courtney was right behind him with 25 points, bouncing back nicely from two straight bogeys to start by making seven consecutive pars to close his round.
John Szymanski then rounded out Marriotts Ridge's scoring with 23 points.
For Segrist, his round was the perfect continuation of his one-under-par effort a day earlier that had secured him the county title. The Gladiators' senior made two birdies and seven pars on the way to the two-under-par score.
In terms of Petersen, she kicked her round off with birdies on the second and third holes and she quickly realized she was in for something special.
"Honestly, after yesterday, I didn't real feel like I had a round like this coming … I figured I would be closer to average. But as soon as I birdied those two holes, I knew it was going to be a good day," she said. "My putting, which is usually what I struggle with, was really good. My confidence just kept growing throughout the round."
Petersen later made another birdie on the sixth hole to get back a stroke she lost with a bogey on No. 5. Down the stretch, she made three more bogies, but did say she was pleased with the fact that she avoided any really bad holes.
MR (8-3): MacIlvain 21, Quinn 14, Chun 10, Illig 2.