Catholic, Poca take regional golf titles at Big Bend
Over the last few years, Region 4 has become one of the toughest Class AA and Class A golf regions in the state and that trend continued on Monday at Big Bend Golf Course in Tornado.
Teams and individuals went low in perfect golf conditions as Charleston Catholic and Poca claimed regional championships.
The Irish took a big step toward a third straight state title by winning Class A by shooting a combined 219 and besting Buffalo by eight strokes on Monday.
In Class AA, Poca will get another chance to finally break through after three-straight runner up finishes at the state tournament, as the Dots beat Scott by 11 strokes.
The top two teams in each class as well as the top two individuals not on a qualifying team earned berths into the state tournament, meaning the Bison and the Skyhawks will both be at Oglebay Park in Wheeling Oct. 8-9 as well.
Each team competed with four players, with the highest score being dropped.
"It's good to be back," Catholic coach Bill Gillispie said of clinching a state tournament berth. "I think this is the toughest single-A region. We have four guys [in the region] that shoot in the 70s and don't make it to the state tournament. Buffalo is going to be good - I think we'll be well represented."
The Irish certainly represented themselves well on Monday as the team's 219 marked the lowest score in Gillispie's 10-year tenure. It also marked the 13th straight regional championship for the Irish, according to Gillispie.
Christian Casingal's 1-under-par 70 had a lot to do with the Irish's success as the junior eked out a one-stroke victory over Buffalo's Cory Hoshor to take medalist honors.
Those two had a 1-2 finish in last year's state tournament as well but in the opposite order. Casingal won the state tournament in 2011 as a freshman.
The two played in the same group on Monday and needless to say, are quite familiar with each other.
"We have always been good friends," Casingal said. "The first time I met Cory I was 12 at the West Virginia Junior Amateur and I think we tied in that tournament. We've been friends ever since then. It was a lot of fun. It felt no different than playing a non-tournament round. We just talked to each other the whole time and made it fun for both of us."
Hoshor has his sights set on holding off Casingal and Catholic senior Aaron Persily, who finished third last year and second in 2011, but he is also aiming to find some way to deny the Irish their third straight championship, a goal he admitted will be tough to accomplish.
"You want to win every tournament you're in, but our team has a good shot of finishing runner-up or possibly even winning," Hoshor said. "We'll have to play really well and we may have to get some help, but it's possible.
"We'll probably have to get some help and play out of our minds, but it's possible."
Poca will have to play extraordinary golf to have a chance of knocking off defending Class AA champion Roane County next week as well, but the Dots did just that on Monday.
Alex Hamrick match Casingal's 70, earning the Class AA medalist honor and edging teammate Travis Covert by a single shot. The Dots' David Scragg placed fourth with a 75 to round out a great team effort.
Longtime coach Doug Smith is leaving no doubt about the Dots' aim next week.
"Like I told them last year up there when they gave me that runner-up trophy, 'I don't want that thing, I want the other one you're holding,'" Smith said. "I hate being second.
"I want to win the big trophy so the kids are rewarded for what they've done."
Sissonville's Taylor Schmeck finished sixth after shooting a 77 and took the first individual qualifying spot in Class AA. Chapmanville's Jake Workman defeated Nicholas County's Drew Ward with a par on the first playoff hole to claim the other berth after the two shot matching 79s.
In Class A, Williamstown's Cody Rhyne finished fourth with a 74 and Parkersburg Catholic's Ben Collie tied for fifth with a 76 as each punched a ticket to the state tournament.
Nicholas County, Wayne and Mingo Central rounded out the top five in the Class AA standings while Williamstown, Parkersburg Catholic and St. Joseph completed the Class A top five. For results, see Page 2B.
The Class AAA portion of Region 4 was also held on Monday at Twin Silos in Lavalette.
Huntington's Thomas Frazier shot a low round of 69 as the Highlanders shot a combined 231 and earned the team title, beating Cabell Midland by a single stroke. Logan, Hurricane and Spring Valley rounded out the top five.
Logan's Sam Corns and Hurricane's Andrew Brooks picked up the individual qualifying spots after both bogeyed on the third playoff hole and Point Pleasant's Denver Thomas made an 8. For results, see Page 2B.
The Class AAA Region 3 tournament will be held at 8:30 today at Berry Hills Country Club.
Capital, George Washington Riverside, South Charleston, Greenbrier East, Oak Hill, Princeton, Ripley, Shady Spring and Woodrow Wilson all compete for berths into the state tournament.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.