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Parity expected to return in high school states

by TG_Admin01

A year ago, Bishop McGuinness rolled to a 52-stroke victory in the NCHSAA 1-A State Tournament. Salisbury was 31 shots clear of its closest rival in the 2-A ranks.

Don’t expect any such runaways this season. Both teams have had their hands full in their own conferences.

“We’re leading our conference and holding our own but we’re not as dominant as we were last year,” said Bishop McGuinnes coach Pearse Mahon.  “East Surry is playing well and they beat us (April 17). We know we’ve got things to do to get things right for the regional and state tournaments. We’re still winning but we’re winning by less and less. It’s all up for the taking now.”

The Villains still have four starters from last year’s state tournament team, including standout Tanner Owen, but the graduation of the players who finished 1-2 in the state tourney a year ago has leveled the 1-A playing field.

At Salisbury, coach Dale Snyder has a new-look team after losing four starters from the back-to-back state champs. The Hornets have been in a dogfight with West Davidson for league honors and West had the lead going into the final rounds of the season.

“I believe that West Davidson and us are probably the top two teams in the Midwest Region and we should be right there in the mix in the state,” Snyder said. “I believe everybody else in our region was also hit hard by graduation.”

State titles in four different NCHSAA divisions will be decided May 13-14.

Getting there comes first in the NCHSAA. One-day, make-or-break shootouts are scheduled on May 6 where only the top three teams from each of four regionals in each class will advance to the 12-team finals.

NCISAA teams have a season-long ranking system that determines which teams make up the state fields.

A preview of the upcoming regional and state tournaments follows:

NCHSAA 4A

Area Regional: May 6: Oak Hollow (Midwest)

State Tournament: May 13-14: Pinehurst No. 8

2012 Team Champion: Raleigh Broughton

2012 Individual Champion: Stephen Saleeby of Broughton defends

Area Teams to Watch

High Point Central and Northwest Guilford are neck-and-neck atop the Piedmont Triad, with the Bison holding a three-shot lead with 45 holes left in the conference schedule. Justin Franklin and Harrison Frye hold two of the top three individual spots while Ryan Eskew, Matthew Krawczyk and Lee Sanderlin have also played well.

Northwest Guilford, coming off an eighth-place finish in the 4A tournament last year, is again in great shape to contend. Drew Johnson, who tied for 13th individually at states, is tied with Franklin for the PTC lead while Addison Dorn, Collin Walser, Nick Fogleman and Grant Powell have also carded strong scores for the Vikings.

East Forsyth, while well back of High Point Central and Northwest Guilford, is in pretty good shape for the PTC’s final regional berth, 20 shots ahead of fourth-place Southwest Guilford. Taylor Marsh and Wyatt Joyner have been among the conference’s individual leaders while Scott Campbell has also played well.

R.J. Reynolds has surged to the front of the Central Piedmont. The Demons lead Davie County by 18 shots with 45 holes left in the conference schedule, as Jack Spear (the CPC leader), Dillon Wilson and Hudson Helms occupy three of the top four spots. Jordan Fields and Justin Lang have also helped them lead early.

Davie County, though, is still within sight of the conference lead, keyed by three players who are among the top 12 individually in the conference. Chase Moore and Seth Morris are among a three-way tie for seventh while Will Perkins has also played well for the War Eagles, who made the 2011 state championship field.

Mount Tabor has its grip on the CPC’s final regional berth, with West Forsyth and Reagan close behind. But the Spartans, who were just three shots out of third last year, have played steadily to reach that spot, led by Andrew Kennedy, who is tied for fourth. Harvey Allen, Matt McDonagh and Doug Levine have also contributed.

Southeast Guilford, which finished 12th in the 4A state tournament last year, sits atop the Metro Conference. The Falcons, keyed by conference top-four player Matt Mahoney as well as Hunter Whetzel and Sam Swope, lead second-place Page by seven shots heading into the final conference match.

Greensboro Page: Making a tremendous leap forward this year, Page, led by conference top-four player Mitch Ellis, is within seven shots of Southeast Guilford and the Metro Conference lead with one match to go. Jackson Neff and Thomas Mayes have also played well for the Pirates, who last reached the state tournament in 2007.

Greensboro Grimsley, a perennial state contender, is in position to return to the regionals and seek a return to the state tournament after not qualifying last year. Led by Alex Burris, Kyle Webb and McKenzie Cole, the Whirlies hold an 18-shot lead over Southern Alamance for third place and the conference’s final regional berth.

Individuals to watch (not on previously mentioned teams):

Piedmont Triad – Trevor Blevins of Glenn, David Song of Ragsdale, Drew Adams and Devin Lanier of Southwest Guilford.

Central Piedmont – Nick Kroustalis and Cameron Ray of West Forsyth; Aaron Purviance, Zac Lynch and Adam Messenkopf of Reagan; Travis Roach and Cody Hill of North Davidson.

Metro — Hogan Lambeth of Southern Alamance.

NCHSAA 3-A

Area Regionals, May 6: Deep Springs Country Club, Stoneville (Mideast), Statesville Country Club (Midwest)

State Tournament, May 13-14: Foxfire GC, Pinehurst area

2012 Team Champion: Gastonia Forestview

2012 Individual Champion: Daniel Brantley, Asheboro (now at Charlotte)

Area Teams to Watch:

Burlington Williams lost half the team that finished fourth at states last spring but still has lefty junior William Register to lead the way. With 36 holes to go, the Bulldogs held a narrow lead over Rockingham County and Eastern Alamance in the highly competitive Mid-State 3-A Conference. Register sits atop the individual race and Jacob Haithcock and Travis Bolick are the other returnees from the state tournament team. Davis Hawkes has come through with some solid rounds.

Rockingham County, which placed fifth in the state last year, lost Caleb Keck to Appalachian State but the Cougars have been blessed with great depth the last several seasons. Senior Jesse Wall, sophomore Kendal Eanes and juniors Jared Dillard, Jonathan Rigney and Tanner Brooks have blended nicely with freshman Tripp Summerlin.

Eastern Alamance also has a deep line-up that is headed by Brennan Wyatt, Tyler Tufts, Kyle Austin, Joseph Wrenn, Nolan Wyatt and Josh Couch.

Northern Guilford has a firm grip on the Mid-State 3-A’s fourth regional bid. The Nighthawks have received strong play from John Derrick, Trey Poole, Nicholas Poole and Jacob Neal.

Asheboro, despite losing state champion Daniel Brantley to graduation, has built a 31-shot lead with 27 holes to play in the Mid-Piedmont Conference. Alex Pugh, who placed 15th in the states last spring, has been the Comets’ leader. Asheboro has also gotten solid play from freshman Koby Markham, juniors Shields McKeown and Denton Richey and senior Jordan Hardwick.

Ledford and Southwest Randolph are locks for the Mid-Piedmont’s other regional bids. Anthony Bradley, Ryan McClellan and Parker Hughes have paced Ledford while Southwest’s Andrew Routh has challenged Asheboro’s Pugh for the league’s individual honors. Southwest also counts on Ross Winslow and Cody Varner.

West Rowan and South Rowan head into the North Piedmont Conference tournament with some ground to make up on Statesville but with locks for regional bids. West junior Jake Kennedy is second in the NPC individual standings and he’s gotten strong support from Denny Triche and Coyte Kyles. South’s Davis Richards and Evan Neas are both top-five conference players and Josh Pope and Hunter Chapman make it a strong foursome.

Individuals to watch (not on previously mentioned teams):

Mid-State – Justice Aheron of McMichael, Tristan Lough of Eastern Guilford, Jordan Thompson of Morehead.

Mid-Piedmont – Joe Shore of North Forsyth.

North Piedmont – Freshman Logan Shuping of East Rowan (individual conference leader), Andrew Purcell and Matt Yates of Carson.

NCHSAA 2-A

Area Regionals, May 6: Riverwood GC, Clayton (Mideast), Sapona Ridge CC, Lexington (Midwest)

State Tournament, May 13-14: Longleaf CC, Southern Pines

2012 Team Champion: Salisbury

2012 Individual Champion: Taylor Coalson of North Surry (now at UNC Greensboro)

Area Teams to Watch:

West Davidson has worked its way to a nine-shot lead in the Central Carolina Conference behind the strong play of individual league leader Andrew Kahn. Nathan Curry, Zach Michael, Matt Brittain, Austin Pleasants and Logan Herman give West a deep line-up.

Salisbury won its second straight 2-A title last spring, rolling to a 31-shot margin of victory. But four of six starters graduated and the Hornets are rebuilding. Senior Alex Austin and junior Eric Edwards are Salisbury’s new leaders and Joseph Rusher, Abraham Post, Gabe Steinman and Christopher Queen have stepped into key roles.

East Davidson has a lock on the Central Carolina’s third regional bid. The Golden Eagles’ trio of Wes Cline, Scott Swaim and Justin Wood are all ranked in the conference’s top 10.

Reidsville, coming off a ninth-place finish in the state tourney, is rebuilding with a young team but still has the lead in the Mid-State 2-A Conference. Sophomore Michael Harris has the league’s individual lead and freshman Austin Booker and Ryan Kelley have been key contributors. The Rams’ only senior is Taylor Trent, one of two girls to play in last year’s 2-A state tourney.

Eastern Randolph and Providence Grove are expected to be the Mid-State’s other regional representatives. Caleb McDaniel, Corey Whitten and Luke Smith pace the Wildcats while Tyler Booth, Cody Routh and Casey Rollins are the Patriots’ leaders.

Randleman has opened a sizeable lead in the PAC-6 Conference with Drake Brady, D.J. Johnson, Matt Turner and Jake Nixon giving the Tigers a strong foursome at the top of the line-up.

Trinity and Wheatmore are battling for second place in the PAC-6 are are looking good for regional berths. Wheatmore’s Colin Miller made states as an individual last spring and leads the league individual race. Wheatmore also features Jacob McNeil, Marvin Taylor and Dalton Stevenson. Trinity’s regular scorers are Bailey Bryant, Chase Faircloth, Brock McCall and Jordan Smith.

West Stokes and North Surry are battling to take the Northwest Conference’s lone 2-A bid to regionals, running third and fourth in the split conference behind 1-A Bishop McGuinness and East Surry. The Wildcats have gotten strong play from Jesse Robertson, Matt Rierson and Tanner Gordon while T.J. Ramey, Noah Lyons and Jed Whitaker lead North Surry.

Forbush has the lead in the Mountain Valley 2-A/1-A Conference, using a strong 1-2 punch at the top of the line-up of Kirk Casstevens and Wes Brown. Carson Matthews and Austin Phillips have also been regular scorers.

Starmount will claim the Mountain Valley’s other regional slot as Nicholas Gunnell, Brady Hunter and Troy Evans are all in the league’s top 10 individuals.

Individuals to watch (not on previously mentioned teams):

Central Carolina – Austin Cooke of Central Davidson.

Mid-State – Joseph Ashley of Graham, Lee Coley of Jordan Matthews and Nick Pinnix of Bartlett Yancey.

Midwest – Rocky Collins of Surry Central.

PAC-6 – Chris Jarrett of High Point Andrews.

NCHSAA 1A

Area Regionals, May 6: Densons Creek GC, Troy (Midwest)

State Tournament, May 13-14: Chapel Hill Country Club

2012 Team Champion: Bishop McGuinness

2012 Individual Champion: Stanhope Johnson of Bishop McGuinness (now at N.C. State)

Area Teams to Watch:

Bishop McGuinness: The Villains lost the top two finishers in the state 1-A tournament a year ago when Stanhope Johnson and William Whitacre graduated but still have junior Tanner Owen, the Northwest Conference leader who placed fourth in the state last year. Bishop also has Zach Shields, Jonathon Davis and Kevin Sowinski back from last year’s state tourney team while Mason Orr has stepped in as a key contributor.

East Surry, third in the state last spring, has hung close with Bishop all season thanks to strong play by Jordan Vogler, who tied for seventh in the state last season individually. The Cardinals also have gotten some solid scoring from Drew Alley, Joseph Marion, Jack Edwards, Andrew Milsaps and Dustin Hutchens.

West Montgomery has a veteran team that will be looking to return to the state tourney. Seniors Dylan Kennedy and Jordan Taylor were freshmen on the state championship team from 2010. Those two players have led the Warriors to the lead in the Yadkin Valley Conference with strong support coming from Walker Harrison, Josh Burris, Terell Marshall and Weston Lineberry. The Midwest Regional will be played at West’s home course at Densons Creek in Troy.

East Wilkes and Elkin will be the Mountain Valley Conference’s representatives in the 1-A regionals. McKinley Johnson leads the overall conference individual race as the East Wilkes leader. Zack Faircloth makes it a nice one-two punch. Elkin is led by Cory Anderson, Josiah Blevins and Jacob Christian.

Individuals to watch (not on previously mentioned teams):

Northwest – Keenan Denny and Wesley Lineberry of South Stokes, Bailey Bouma of Mount Airy.

NCISAA 1A

State Tournament: May 13-14, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club

2012 Team Champion: The Elon School

2012 Individual Champion: Ed Thomas of Northwood Temple Academy (now at Barton)

Area Teams to Watch

The Elon School, after several close calls, finally broke through last year and look to add another title this year. Ranked No. 1 in the NCISAA 1A, the Commodores have done well behind the strong play of senior Dexter Blank (fourth individually last year) as well as Nick Davenport and George Schmitt.

NCISAA 2A

State Tournament: May 13-14, Talamore Golf Resort

2012 Team Champion:  Arendell Parrott Academy

2012 Individual Champion: Ben O’Geary of Kerr Vance Academy

Area Teams to Watch

Westchester Country Day is again looking to contend for a state title. The Wildcats, who finished second after winning the previous two titles, are ranked No. 2 in the NCISAA 2A behind sophomore standout Thomas Walsh (fifth last year, tied for second two years ago), freshman Hardin Councill and sophomore Russell Marion, as well as Tommy Frungillo.

NCISAA 3A

State Tournament: May 13-14, Bryan Park (Champions Course)

2012 Team Champion: Christ School

2012 Individual Champion: Jeff Krieger of Christ School

Area Teams to Watch

Forsyth Country Day has finished in the top three at the state tournament every year since 2002, including winning the title in 2006, and again appear poised to make another run at the championship. Led by Ben Schlottman, Tyler Hartley, Eric Mitchell, Jay Hunt and Gray Townsend, the Furies are ranked No. 2 in the NCISAA 3A.

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