JACKSON, Ohio — The reigning champs may have suffered a knock-out blow.
The Meigs golf team now faces an uphill battle if it hopes to win at least a share of the program’s fourth consecutive league championship following a third place finish on Tuesday at the fifth Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division match at Franklin Valley Golf Course in Jackson County.
The Marauders — who shared the 2015 crown with Vinton County before posting consecutive unbeaten seasons the previous two falls — are now four losses back of current league-leader Athens and also sit two losses behind current runner-up Alexander.
The Maroon and Gold are not mathematically eliminated from contention, but MHS would have to win the final two matches, have Alexander place second and have Athens finish third just to force a three-way tie in the final league standings.
The Bulldogs and Spartans, however, are responsible for all five team victories thus far in TVC Ohio competition — with Athens coming away with its third league win on Monday night.
The Bulldogs improved their seasonal mark to 22-3 overall following a narrow one-stroke victory over the Spartans on Tuesday night by a 167-168 count. Alexander is now 20-5 overall through five matches.
The Maroon and Gold posted a final team tally of 177, which moved their seasonal mark to 18-7 overall.
Vinton County (10-15) and Wellston (5-20) respectively finished fourth and fifth overall with team tallies of 182 and 190. Nelsonville-York (0-25) did not compete at the event.
Whit Byrd of Alexander won medalist honors with a 2-over par round of 36 on the front-nine. Wyatt Nicholson was the overall runner-up with a 37.
Austin Mahr followed Nicholson with a 44, while Brody Reynolds and Dawson Justice completed the team score with matching rounds of 48.
Cole Arnott and Bobby Musser also had identical efforts of 50 for the Marauders.
Ben Pratt paced Athens with a 38, while Noah Nobles led the Vikings with a 39. Brandyn Bush also led the host Golden Rockets with a 43.
The sixth TVC Ohio match will be held on Thursday, Sept. 13, at Cliffside Golf Course in Gallipolis.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.