KEWANEE, Ill. -- Pleasant Valley's boys golf team started three freshmen this year under first-year head coach Mike Nedelcoff.
The youth has been served.
The Spartans won their first Mississippi Athletic Conference title since 2012, firing a two-day total of 622 to edge Bettendorf by three strokes Saturday at Kewanee Dunes Golf Club.
"It really means a lot. We've worked hard this season and I'm really happy today we all came together and worked as a team," freshman Jack Roemer said. "I knew this was a possibility with a great coach and hard work. This is what hard work does. It pays off."
Even though PV had all three of its freshmen — Roemer, Jack Dumas and John Logan — place inside the top 10 to earn all-conference honors, it was junior Lucas Wendel who helped push the Spartans over the top.
A day after shooting an 83, Wendel shot a 79 to help the Spartans fire a second-day 310 after the team shot a 312 and entered Saturday tied with Bettendorf.
"On the way up here, our coach was talking about how we needed our fifth and sixth scorer to play well," Wendel said. "I just knew to fight the entire round. I didn't finish as well as I wanted to but I knew I had to keep fighting and hang in there until the end."
While PV won the team title, Bettendorf's Benny Flanagan won the individual conference championship with a two-day total of 151.
Flanagan started the day two shots back of the lead and was locked in a battle with Roemer and Muscatine's Josh Hutton for much of the day.
Flanagan shot a tournament-low 74, which was good enough to move the senior past Hutton for the tournament and stay one shot ahead of Roemer — who also posted a 74 — after starting the day with the same margin.
"It's a great feeling," Flanagan said. "Everything I've worked for the last couple years, I was able to put it together today and come out with the win."
Flanagan started the day with two birdies in his first four holes before finishing the front nine with a 37. He was 4-over at one point before playing his final four holes 2-under-par.
"I haven't been playing my best this year ... I was just thinking about it's my last year and I have to make a statement," he said. "I wanted to go out with a bang and make sure I got it done."
It was a slightly frustrating end for Roemer, who was tied with Flanagan heading into the 18th and final hole. But the freshman hit his second shot into a tree and had to settle for bogey while Flanagan made par.
"It was an awesome experience, especially playing against Benny, he's such a good competitor," Roemer said. "He just made the putts coming down the stretch. It was a fun match, but congrats to him for making more putts and hitting the shots to win."
Assumption had two golfers finish in the top 10 in Griffin Steer (153) and Matt Cain (154), while Flanagan was joined by teammates Trever Rogan (154) and Steven Gottwald (158).
Muscatine also had three golfers finish in the top 10 with Hutton (152), Bryce Howard (153) and JT Manjoine (158).