DADE CITY — They huddled around the scorecards waiting patiently for the numbers to be tallied.
The prediction that the Sunshine Athletic Conference boys golf tournament — and season title — would come down to Mitchell, Wiregrass Ranch and Ridgewood was spot on.
On Tuesday, the Lake Jovita South course was packed with teams battling on one of the more challenging and picturesque courses on the North Suncoast.
Ridgewood coach Gary Zimmerman ran the tournament here hoping the players would feel the championship atmosphere, and they did.
Before the final scores were announced, Wiregrass Ranch coach Nick Cuviello was already doused from the all-too-cliche celebratory bath.
He had done the math, and the Bulls had claimed their first SAC tournament and season titles.
Wiregrass won with a team score of 318 followed by Ridgewood (320) and Mitchell (325).
The Bulls' victory avenged an early-season loss to the Mustangs, their only loss of the season.
"They played every shot," Cuviello said. "They realized each one was going to matter. I knew it would be a close margin. They took each shot as seriously as they needed to."
The Bulls were led by Logan Horrigan, who finished the front nine 3 under then struggled on the back to finish with 3-over 74. Other Bulls scorers included Dylan Larson (77), Nick Stutt (80) and Chris Kluender (87).
Mitchell entered the tournament undefeated, and the loss was bittersweet.
The Mustangs were led by senior Chaz Heinz, who defended his individual SAC title with 1-under 71.
Mitchell's depth, which had been a bonus all season, proved a detractor Tuesday as coach Rick Hyatt was forced to name a lineup of five players, per tournament rules.
That proved difficult with his team of 10 averaging within eight strokes of one another.
The Mustangs got scores from Dylan Strout (42-37-79), Austin Richardson (41-42-83) and Sterling Bash (47-45-92).
"I guess we're a little confused right now," Heinz said. "… We might have to change it up at districts."
First-team conference honors went to Heinz, Strout, Horrigan, Larson, Stutt, Ridgewood's Johnathan Kopsell, Sunlake's Donald Eubanks, Ridgewood's Jeff Koos, Land O'Lakes' Robert Neiman, Ridgewood's Austin Padova.