Following Tommy Tirrell’s tie-breaking chip-off victory Friday that earned him second place at the Loyola Sacred Heart Invitational golf tournament, he carried his iron off the 18th green to talk to a waiting reporter.
They introduced themselves, having never met before. Tirrell didn’t garner too many interviews in his sophomore or freshman seasons golfing at Loyola.
“You probably talked to Tom last year,” Tirrell said, no hint of animosity in his statement of fact, just an observation.
Tom Swanson, and with him Maggie Crippen on the girls’ side, dominated the action for the Rams and Breakers golf teams over the past few seasons. Each are gone now onto NCAA Division I programs, but the Loyola golf legacy still has some sheen on it.
The Loyola teams flashed it at their home invitational this week, the season opener for action without their multi-medalist leaders in camp. Swanson and Crippen were each three-time State B individual champions in their last three seasons of high school golf before graduating last spring. Swanson headed off to Michigan to swing for the Wolverines while Crippen is now on the links with North Dakota State.
In their place is a new crew that isn’t really very new at all. The top two girls and boys each played important roles in the past few seasons, though as sidekicks to their well-known superhero teammates.
“And I think that even we didn’t know how far along they had come,” Loyola head golf coach Julia Jones said following the conclusion of this week’s Loyola Invite.
Tirrell and Jared Geer, who battled it out for second place Friday, were both top 10 finishers at state last year. So were Sadie Crippen and Brooke Bezanson on the girls’ side, Crippen nearly knocking off her older sister before finishing second in the state meet.
They seem to be stepping into the empty shoes with gusto as Loyola looks to continue its half decade of sheer state dominance. The boys are five-time defending champs, tied for the most consecutive wins at any boys’ level with the 1993-97 Columbus team, while the Breakers have five straight state-trophy winning seasons with top-three finishes.
Right there in the middle in 2011 is the program’s only championship.
“I think the expectation that they have is that if they work hard enough that it will continue,” “And we’ve got good leadership. Jared Geer is our only senior, so they’re young, but they’re pretty well seasoned.”
Other players like Tom Sellman and Bryan Swanson for the boys and Madison Purdy, Julia Downing and Rosie McCormack for the girls will keep pushing those top pairs as the Rams and Breakers continue their march on Class B golf.