North Marion’s Dylan Runner follows through on a shot during a match earlier this season.

RACHEL — In many ways, North Marion junior Dylan Runner’s steady progression throughout his high school career was a major factor in the Huskies’ meteoric rise to state championship contender this preseason. And now, just over a month into the 2020 season, Runner’s performance has been a consistent reinforcement in keeping the Huskies there.

Pure and simple, Runner has been one of the best No. 2 golfers in the state this fall — he’s the ultimate second banana, a dependable sidekick with head honcho-level talent. Sure, it’s Runner’s senior teammate and NMHS No. 1 golfer Michael Harris who is one of the state’s top overall players and the Huskies’ unquestioned leader, but it may actually be Runner’s play that holds more championship cache.

Harris is a bonafide No. 1 and the foundation of North’s title aspirations, but there are other Top 10 golfers spread across the state who put their respective teams in that same base position. There are very, very few teams, however, that can slot a player of Runner’s caliber into that No. 2 slot, presenting North Marion with a considerable match-to-match advantage over the majority of their opponents and a front row seat in the race for the Class AA state championship.

Runner has always been a poised putter during his time with the Huskies and his ball striking has continued to make strides throughout his career. All season long in 2020, Runner has been scoring well, regularly carding scores more synonymous with No. 1 options.

He kept up his quality play this past week during a pair of 9-hole matches and an 18-hole match for the Huskies. Runner carded a 38 and 36 in NMHS’s two 9-hole matches and an 89 in the 18-hole match at Williams Country Club. Runner started his week with a round of 38 in the Huskies’ senior night quad match victory, a score that was second among all individuals trailing only Harris’ 37. Three days later, Runner played a masterful round en route to a 1-under 36 to tie for medalist honors in the Huskies’ quad match win at Tygart Lake Country Club. He ended the week with an 89 on Friday, a mark that was good for second on the team.

Voting for next week’s Player of the Week will begin after the conclusion of Friday’s games and close Sunday at 7 p.m. All performances from Saturday through Friday will be considered.

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