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Westside’s Porter Topp leads Warriors to state golf championship
May 26, 2023
The Westside boys golf team came home with a clean sweep at NSAA State Golf Championships at the Norfolk Country Club on Wednesday, May 24. The boys team won the team title and took first, second and tied for third as individuals. After finishing runner-up at state last season by only one stroke, the Warriors brought home another trophy, this one being the state championship trophy.
The team of sophomores Christopher Whittle, Leo Kroeger, Trevor Gutschewski, junior Jackson Benge and senior Porter Topp put up a record breaking four-under par performance. The record breaking team was led by first year head coach Jered Hellman.
The last time a team had golfers finish first, second and third place was when Creighton Prep did it in 2013. The state medal winners are Jackson Benge, who ended up at two-under par and tied for the bronze medal. Trevor Gutschewski finished at five-under par and took the silver medal. Porter Topp led all the golfers at six-under par and took home the gold medal. The 19-stroke win by the Warriors this year is the largest margin of victory since 2018. The four-under par finish this year is the best by any team since 2014. State champion Porter Topp reflects on what it means to the best in the state.
“It means so much to not only be the individual champion, but the team champ means so much more to me because of the family we’ve created this year,” Topp said.
Topp becomes only the third individual state winner in Westside history. He joins the 1971 state champion Joe Sloan and the 1959 winner Bob Saffer. The team championship marks the sixth Class A title for the Warriors and the first since 1989. The Warriors also won the Class B State Championship in 1954.
“It feels amazing to know that I was a part of the greatest team we have ever had,” Topp said. “And to be able to play with Benge, Trevor and Whittle just makes it all so much better”.
The Warriors started round one with a 292, four over par, putting the Warriors four strokes back going into the final day. In round two the team scored a lights out eight-under par performance on day two. The 572 total team score left the competition in the dust, winning by a total of 19 strokes over the second place teams, Creighton Prep and Lincoln Southeast. Topp reflects what it means to be a part of what could be one of the best golf teams in high school state history.
“We’ve said all year the only one that matters is this one,” Topp said. “And to win it just makes everything else we have done mean that much more .”
The Warriors weren’t shy of winning this season, collecting wins in the Alex Shives Memorial, Fremont Invitational, Capital City Invitational, Norfolk Invitational, the Metro Conference Tournament and the A-2 District tournament. This year’s state championship is the cherry on top for the Warriors. All the wins didn’t come easy though, an emotional coach Hellman describes how much Westside golf means to him and his players.
“I vividly remember 1989, I looked up to them and that’s when I knew Westside was a special place,” Hellman said. “It changed my life and I wanted this for a long time because they deserve this feeling. I told them when you get to be on six we would be tied, but we weren’t tied, we were up five. That’s because I am blessed to have a phenomenal golf team and their better kids, they have created something. Our group text was named one stroke all year, my passcode on my phone is 1989, there was no not talking about this was our goal and this is what we were gonna do.”
Westside’s young core of golfers makes this year’s historical season nothing short of amazing. The team will return four of their top five golfers from this year’s state championship team, losing only Porter Topp. After finishing runner-up last year and winning state this year, the Warriors are building a dynasty for the future.