WHEELING -With a pair of conference championships and a regional title in their hip pocket, the golfers from Parkersburg South are backing down from no one as the high school state tournament begins this morning at Speidel Golf Course at Oglebay Park.
As one of eight schools in the Class AAA field, Parkersburg South is making its first appearance as a team since capturing back-to-back state titles in 2005-06.
"We've been trending up all year," said South junior Alex Schreckengost, who earned medalist honors at last week's regional meet at Parkersburg Country Club where the Patriots upended the defending state champion (University) and state runner-up (Wheeling Park).
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Roane County golfer Cole Moore and his Raider teammates begin their quest of a second consecutive Class AA state title during today’s opening round at Speidel Golf Course at Oglebay Park in Wheeling.
This week's venue is the same one where teammate Adeena Shears took medalist honors at the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Championships after shooting 1-over par 72.
"I have good memories there," Shears said. "I guess we will see what happens."
Seniors Garrett Dailey and Noah Smith complete the South roster.
"Adeena and Alex have kept everyone motivated," South coach Sherry Morris said. "They get everyone to practice on the weekends. They've put life back into the program.
The rest of the Class AAA field includes teams from Washington, Princeton, Huntington, Wheeling Park, Elkins, Shady Spring and Cabell Midland?
"We talk about 18 opportunities - they need to make the most of each hole," Morris said. "It's going to take two good days. These are two long days of about seven to eight hour rounds."
Ritchie County sent shockwaves around the state when it defeated Roane County at last week's Class AA regional in Fairmont. The Rebels will go as far as senior Sydney Snodgrass decides to take them.
"I think we may have woke up Roane," Ritchie County coach Ted VanScoy said. "I wish we would have let them sleep another week."
Entering the regional meet, Roane County's resume included a 166-3 record. Earlier in the season, the Raiders became the first non-Class AAA program to win the Callaway Junior Tour High School Series.
"I think last week was a little bit of a wake-up call, but I don't think they were affected much," Roane County coach Jim Kendall said.
Roane County's lineup consists of last year's state medalist in Alston Spears and a trio of brothers in twins Cole and Cam Moore and their younger brother, Caleb.
Also along for the ride for moral support are three seniors (Hunter Simmons, Forrest Greenlee and Nathan Kendall) who could start for most programs in the state.
"If we have six or seven playing at state, I don't think anyone could hold a candle to us," Jim Kendall said.
Poca and Scott figure to be in the mix, along with Ritchie County and Roane County. Rounding out the Class AA field are Grafton, Westside, Bridgeport and Wyoming East.
Roane County is the defending state champion, while Ritchie County recently won three titles in a span of four years (2008, 2010-11).
"I kept telling my golfers that you don't win anything in August or September," VanScoy said. "Now that it's October, that's when it begins."
For the first time in the program's history, St. Marys joins the Class A state field in back-to-back years. The Blue Devil lineup consists of Drew Wells, Coleman Lamp, Robbie Harper and Jared Nichols.
"We're a small rural program - this probably means just as much for St. Marys Golf Club and the people in the community because of their support," St. Marys coach Howard Meeks said. "They haven't forgotten our kids."
The rest of the field is made up of Madonna, Pocahontas County, Greenbrier West, Charleston Catholic, Notre Dame, Richwood and Buffalo.
Competing as individuals are Williamstown's Kody Rhyne, Parkersburg Catholic's Ben Collie and Magnolia's Peyton Moore.