VASSALBORO, Maine — Ben Bell of Sanford will be the only title defender at the Maine Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Individual Championships on Saturday at Natanis Golf Course.
The boys championships are split into three classes, like the high school teams were last Saturday, while the schoolgirl tournament is an open event.
Play gets under way with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. with the Classes A and B boys competing on the Tomahawk Course and the girls and the Class C boys playing the Arrowhead Course.
The number of boys who qualified was based on the number of teams at a qualifying tournament, one qualifier for each team represented plus ties and their scores were 90 or lower.
Every girl who shot 110 or better at a qualifier advanced to Saturday’s championship.
Bell tied for last year’s state Class A title with Joe Walp of Falmouth. Walp graduated last spring, but Bell still will face a formidable cast of golfers.
Among those contenders is Andrew Cloutier of Cheverus of Portland, who tied Bell as Southern Maine Activities Association medalist with a 71. Mike Caron of Class A state team champ Gorham and Brendan Hall of Scarborough were close behind with 73s.
Other A contenders include Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship medalist Brad Smith of Brunswick, who shot a 74, and KVAC runner-up Cooper Easter with a 75.
In Class B, Adam Falk of Lake Region in Naples was the Western Maine Conference medalist with a 71 followed by Red DeSmith of Yarmouth (73) and Peter Carley of team state champ York (75). Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth may be the one to beat, though, after he shot a 3-under-par 69 on the Tomahawk Course last Saturday. Liam Porter of Hermon was the low Class B qualifier at the Penobscot Valley Conference championships with a 79.
In Class C, Sam Grindle of Deer Isle-Stonington has the hot hands after winning the PVCs with an even-par 72 and following it up as he also posted a 3-under 69 on the Arrowhead Course.
Zach DeBlois of state champ Saint Dominic of Auburn will be a strong contender after he shot a 70 in the WMC qualifier and added a 74 last Saturday. Robbie Watson of Fort Fairfield shot a 75 in the Aroostook qualifier.
Among the schoolgirls, Monica Austin of Yarmouth had the low qualifying round of 76 playing from the same tees as her male teammates in the SMAA/WMC qualifier. Meghan Flannigan of Limestone Community School/Maine School of Science and Mathematics recorded a 77 in the Aroostook qualifier, Sarah Hansen of Greely of Cumberland Center posted an 80 in the SMAA/WMCs and Alice Hwang of Bangor qualified with an 86 in the KVACs while also competing for the team title.