NEW PORT RICHEY - For over 94 percent - or 16 of 17 Hernando County linksters - Tuesday's Class 2A, Region V Golf Tournament at Fox Hollow Golf Club served its purpose as a supreme litmus test.
Only one of the 54 entered regional golfers tamed the 6,800-yard layout in West Pasco County by shooting a 1-under-par 70.
Mitchell junior Donald Gabrelcik had an excuse winning medalist honors - it's his home course.
The host Mustangs edged Tampa-Jesuit for the team title, 303-307.
After the Tigers followed Sunlake (339), Springstead (350), River Ridge (352), Hernando (353), Wesley Chapel (366), Nature Coast Technical (372) and Gulf (379).
Both the Mustangs and Tigers will advance as complete squads to the 83rd annual FHSAA Finals set for Oct. 29-30 in Lake County.
Though the day belonged to the Mustangs and Tigers, there was a silver lining for the largest Hernando County golf contingency in four decades of regional competition.
Springstead senior Brazon Dixon carded an 18-hole 39-36-75 to tie three others for second place.
Because two of those linksters - Mitchell junior Anthony Swineford and Jesuit junior Alec Murawski - were already advancing with their respective teams - Sunlake's Jake Roberts and Dixon each advanced to states as individuals.
Dixon, who was the 2A-District 13 runner-up last week at Silverthorn, had previously reached regionals as a freshman, but failed to qualify for states at Fleming Island behind an 18-hole 91 total.
"Finally," said the 17-year-old Dixon after he heard the news he'd be the first Eagle to reach the FHSAA Finals since 1990. "It feels really good, especially since my coach's son (Ryan Nicoll) didn't ever go to states."
Dixon believed he began the day on the right foot.
"I started off pretty good. I hit every green. It seemed like I came within 12 feet of the hole on every approach," recalled Dixon, a 2012 All-County performer. "I had one bad shot. On the fifth hole, I snapped hooked a shot into the water and took a seven. In the two practice rounds on that same hole, I birdied it twice."
On whether Dixon is capable of elevating his game, he said, "I can definitely play a lot better."
"Congratulations to Brazon," added Springstead's second-year mentor Greg Odachowski. "He deserves all the credit, he played really well. I just hope he keeps it up at states."
Another exceptional performance was turned in by Weeki Wachee junior Michael Rampino.
Rampino, who carded a 99 in his first regional appearance last fall, improved to an 18-hole 39-43-82 total.
Rampino's round included the most talked-about shot of the seven-plus hour event - his hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole.
From 176 yards, the 17-year-old Rampino utilized a 6-iron.
"The ball hit the green and it rolled left and into the cup," recalled Rampino. "I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to think about it because I had so many more holes to play.
"I played OK until the wind got the best of me across the final 4-5 holes. Overall, I'm just disappointed not to be going to states - that was the goal all year."
Two-time district champion and three-time regional qualifier, NCT junior Jake Arnett, fell victim to a 10-over-par 34-47-81.
"Today was a tough day," shrugged the 17-year-old Arnett, who arrived as the county's scoring leader with a 37.4 nine-hole average. "I did play well across the front nine and sank some putts and then things kind of fell apart on the back.
"(NCT) Coach (Tom Brown) always gives me good advice, but I couldn't keep it together," added Arnett. "It seemed like I struggled with my putter all day."
On his goal for next season, "I'm not worried about my swing, it's all about working on my short game," noted Arnett. "What happened to me today happens to the pros very day, so I'm not stressing."
Hernando senior and four-time regional qualifier Cody Montgomery carded an eight-over-par 40-39-79.
The three-time All-County linkster wasn't volcanic afterward.
"I didn't play well at all," shrugged 18-year-old Montgomery. "It was really windy and the conditions made it tougher to play than when we had our practice rounds.
"Overall, I'd say the greens were pretty quick," added Montgomery. "I'm not going to make excuses. I had a rocky season. I thought I did the best I could. Now, I'm going to just practice and play some smaller tournaments to hopefully prepare me for college golf."
Final Class 2A, Region V Boys Golf Tourney Standings PL TEAM PTS. 1. Mitchell (MIT)# 303 2. Tampa-Jesuit (TJ)# 307 3. Sunlake (SNL) 339 4. Springstead (SPG) 350 5. River Ridge (RR) 352 6. Hernando (HER) 353 7. Wesley Chapel (WC) 366 8. Nature Coast Technical (NCT) 372 9. Gulf (GF) 379 # Denotes will advance to the Class 2A FHSAA Finals.
Final Class 2A, Region V Tourney Team Results:
MITCHELL (303) - Donald Gabrelcik 70, Anthony Swineford 75, Michael Spinger 77, Maxwell Sabo 81, Ben Wagner 88.
TAMPA JESUIT (307) - Alec Murawski 75, Joseph Trim 77, Ethan White 77, Matt Ruel 36-42-78, Kurt Sierra 81.
SUNLAKE (339) - Jake Roberts 75, Travis Wells 76, Justin Jungbauer 79, Logan Morrell 109, Tyler Medhaug 126.
SPRINGSTEAD (350) - Brazon Dixon 39-36-75, Ben Cash 41-45-86, Ryan O'Connell 43-46-89, Brett Maharaj 47-53-100, Brendan Pfent 101.
RIVER RIDGE (352) - Michael Stewart 83, Mike Dodson 85, Grant Glewen 88, Max Martin 96, Tyler Alexy 104.
HERNANDO (353) - Cody Montgomery 40-39-79, Zayne Vasquez 45-44-89, Pierce Kimbrough 46-44-90, Bryan Mitko 50-45-95, Cameron Price 59-54-113.
WESLEY CHAPEL (366) - Zach Lemmens 85, Tyler Rover 87, David Lee 93, Alex Nay 101, Zach Marquardt 103.
NATURE COAST TECHNICAL (372) - Jake Arnett 34-47-81, Nick Feola 46-40-86, Joe Powanda 49-52-101, Dan Wempe 49-55-104, Erik Carlson 50-58-108,.
GULF (379) - Jackson Raymond 78, Ryan Gibson 93, Alex Walker 98, Anastasios Lake 110,Logan Vega 118.
Class 2A, Region V Top 10 Individual Results: PL NAME SCH YR TOTAL 1. Donald Gabrelcik MIT 11 70 2. Brazon Dixon* SPG 12 39-36-75 2. Anthony Swineford* MIT 11 75 2. Alec Murawski TJ 11 75 2. Jake Roberts SNL 11 75 6. Travis Wells SNL 9 76 7. Michael Spinger MIT 10 77 7. Joseph Trim TJ 12 77 7. Ethan White TJ 12 77 10. Matt Ruel TJ 10 36-42-78 10. Jackson Raymond GF 12 78
* Denotes will advance to the FHSAA's Class 2A, State Finals
Individual Participant Results: PLAYER SCH YR TOTAL Mike Rampino WW 11 39-43-82 Lawrence Cai LOL 10 84 Stephen Pollock ZEP 12 87 Ryan Wahl TS 09 90 Mike Schermerhorn DUN 11 94 Adam Norris DUN 12 94 Jans Tamayo CEN 11 47-50-97 Sean Fluke FIV 12 104 Turner Imhoff PAS 12 107