By STEVE HUFFMAN
Depth paid huge dividends for Elon School in the North Carolina independent 1-A state championship.
The Commodores, with four players among the top 13 finishers, won its first state golf championship, posting a 623 total to best second-place finisher Trinity of Durham/Chapel Hill, which 10 shots off the pace at Talamore Golf Resort in Southern Pines. .
Prior to Elon’s win, Trinity had won the past two championships.
“It was really fun to see them come together as a team,” said Elon coach Dave Blank. “We didn’t have the best individual player in the tournament, but our team did better. That’s the strength of the numbers, that’s what you need.”
This is Blank’s first year coaching the Commodores. His son, Dexter, is a junior at Elon School and a member of the golf team. Dave Blank works full time as athletics director at neighboring Elon University.
Elon and Trinity are both members of the Triad Athletic Conference and competed against each other during the regular season.
It was basically a two-team battle between the rivals as third-place Northwood Temple Academy was 37 shots off the pace at 660.
“We were familiar with them,” Blank said of Trinity. “We knew we were right there with them as far as talent is concerned.”
Elon’s first-day team score was 311, while Trinity trailed at 320. Elon closed with a 312 to Trinity’s 313.
Elon’s top golfer was senior Skylar Holt who shot 78-72 for a 150 total, good for third place, but 15 shots back of medalist Ed Thomas of Northwood Temple Academy. Thomas rolled to the title with 69-66, pulling away from Trinity’s Matt Dengler, who shot 69-72.
Dexter Blank was next for the Commodores, finishing fourth with 75-77.
“Skylar had a great final round,” Dave Blank said. “It’s great to see these kids play to their potential.”
Nick Davenport placed 10th with 78-80. Elon also got key play from George Schmitt, who placed 13th with 80-83.