MOUNT VERNON — The best golfer in Knox County has just earned a distinction never done before.
Danville senior Brayden Baldridge has been named All-Area High School Golfer of the Year by the Mount Vernon News for an unprecedented fourth straight year.
Baldridge is a three-time state placer, having finished in the top 10 of Division III each time. He came in sixth last month at the tournament, held at North Star Golf Course in Sunbury. Baldridge was second a year ago, and third in 2014.
He fell short of becoming the first Danville athlete since the varsity softball team in ’08 to win a state title. But that doesn’t take away from what he did manage to accomplish.
Baldridge was also Mid-Buckeye Conference Player of the Year all four years of school, and was named First Team All-District all four years as well.
But, as good as Baldridge is on the course, anyone who knows him will tell you his best attributes are away from the links.
“Anyone will tell you he’s such a good kid,” Baldridge’s coach Pat Mickley said. “He always dresses up nice at the course. He’s always polite to the older players. A lot of kids get there and don’t care how they look or how they act. Brayden is always kind and takes care of himself and the people around him.”
•Fellow Blue Devil Austin Frank has been named to the All-Area First Team. Frank wrapped up his golf career with a fifth-place finish in his second straight appearance at districts.
•Utica junior Max Lepley is also All-Area First Team. He competed at the same district tournament as Frank, carding an 89 in the Division II category.
•Cardington’s Austin Yake had a fabulous year as the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Golfer of the Year. The senior dominated at sectionals — coming in third — to land a spot at districts, where he finished 16th.
•Mount Vernon junior Connor Curry fell three strokes shy of a state bid in the Division I level. He carded a 77 at districts to lead the Yellow Jackets and earn a First Team All-Area nod.
•Fellow Yellow Jacket Drew Salyers wraps up the First Team. His freshman year saw him as the team’s No. 1 golfer throughout the season. Salyers was by far the best freshman at sectionals when he carded a 74 at Turnberry.
All-Area Honorable Mention honors go to: Centerburg’s Brady Rowe, Danville’s Josh Hogg, Fredericktown’s Brandon Main, Highland’s Sam Lopiccolo, Johnstown’s Brady Fleming, Mount Gilead’s Zack Hosack, Mount Vernon’s Chase Ferguson, Northridge’s Brandon Estep and Northmor’s Hayes Bentley.
For leading the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets back to a district appearance as a team, Aaron Hale is the All-Area Coach of the Year.