However, the Owls only got low scores from three players -- two who made the state cut -- Wednesday during the Section 4 Tournament at Excelsior Springs Golf Course.
"Realistically, the kids probably played to the top of their abilities," remarked MHS coach Erek Dusenberry. "We probably did about as well as we could have, or should have."
Marshall hadn't played on the course in 20 years, except for a practice round Monday, and Dusenberry noted "it makes so much difference when it's a track you've been on." That was certainly the case for the host Tigers, who with only four individual qualifiers posted the best team score at 321, followed by Kearney at 325.
Excelsior Springs junior Austin Hardison shot a three-over-par 75 to tie for medalist honors with senior Gordon Hamilton of Pembroke Hill, who he led to a championship last year by finishing third at state.
For the Owls, junior Alex Maupin returns to state -- having advanced a year ago -- and freshman Cole Perkins qualified in his first try. Junior Bryan Mach missed the cut by a stroke after making it last year.
Perkins tied for 14th place overall with an 83, admitting to be surprised he made it through.
"I was hoping I'd make it, but wasn't quite sure after I saw all those low scores on the board," he said. "I played okay. I couldn't hit very many greens and getting up and down was pretty hard."
For his part, Maupin -- tied for 18th with the cut-off score of 84 -- was marginally satisfied with his performance, shooting 42 on both the front and back nines.
"I hit the ball pretty good, but missed a lot of putts," he explained. "I had a few bad shots which cost me, but overall wasn't bad."
Mach put himself in a hole with a 44 going out, which his 41 coming in couldn't completely overcome. Junior Marc Plummer, a golf rookie, shot 93 and sophomore Brett Maupin posted a 93 -- his second-best 18-hole score of the season, on a long, hilly 6,800-yard course which Dusenberry said would require competitors "to play every yard of it."
Marshall finished fourth with 345 points, behind Savannah's third-place 328 and 20 strokes off the pace of the second state qualifying team.
"You look at our top three, and I think each one of them could probably look at three or four strokes they could take off," Dusenberry explained. "That takes us down to 335, still significantly behind the leaders.
"The exciting part is we have all five back" next year, he added. "Hopefully, they'll learn from this experience and be ready to work this summer and get better."
There's still one event remaining on the current season for all of the Owls, the NCMC Tournament next Wednesday at Boonville. Then Perkins and Maupin will head to Springfield for the state meet May 14-15 at Rivercut.
"Be ready for anything" is Perkins' mantra for his mental approach to competing at state for the first time. "Learn everything I can from my practice round."
Alex Maupin's been there before, and - as might be expected of an accomplished three-sport athlete - is taking it in stride.
"Just keep practicing and playing," he explained. "Do what you do every day."