Blue Devils reign supreme, again
St. Marys claims second straight team title, PC’s Lewis earns medalist honors
WHEELING — Parkersburg Catholic sophomore Blake Lewis earned medalist honors while St. Marys repeated as Class A state champions following Wednesday’s final round on the Jones course at Oglebay Resort.
The Blue Devils of head coach Catie Hamilton finished with a two-day total of 523 (258-265) to best runner-up Moorefield (276-263=539) and third-place Williamstown (264-284=548). St. Marys received all-state honors from Brandon Lawhon and Grant Barnhart.
“They are unbelievable,” said Hamilton, who watched Lawhon shoot rounds of 83 and 85 to finish third with Barnhart going 84-93 to place eighth. “They are just such a fun group to coach. They couldn’t have made me prouder the last two days. There was so much adversity out there and they really stuck to it. I think what was really important the last two days was to stay level-headed.”
Lewis, who started on No. 10 and carded birdies on holes 7, 16 and 17, followed Tuesday’s round of 81 with a 76. That was more than enough to top runner-up Justin Doerr of Wheeling Central, who finished six strokes back after leading by two following an opening round 79.
“This year it’s just been a lot different because I’ve gained so many strokes and so much distance off the tee and I can hit it a lot farther,” admitted Lewis, who also earned all-state honors in 2019.
“I really felt like I had a good chance of coming up and winning this. I know Justin played really good at regionals and I was kind of worried about him. Down two coming into today I knew I had to play well.
“I just came out, the conditions were kind of tough, and I just got away with it and shot 5-over, which is a lot better than yesterday. I did very well with putting today. I had a couple birdies drop in from pretty long ways and that got me going. I had one three-putt today. I knew I was going to have to play good. I got into my groove. Hopefully, I can get two more all-states. Two more wins.”
Winning another team crown was something Lawhon definitely wanted to do, but he also missed all-state by just two strokes last season.
“I wasn’t hitting greens very good, but I was always in the fairway,” Lawhon admitted. “I couldn’t make a putt, but it all worked out in the end. I had a few bad holes. It was super windy and the course was playing really tough. The greens are always tough up here. I was actually on track to do really good last year and I blew up on the back and shot a 51 on the final day, the last nine holes.
“The final nine today I started to blow up a little bit and then I was not letting what happened last year happen again and I recovered and bounced back. It feels great, honestly. The region was super competitive this year. We hoped we’d play our game and come out with a win.”
Blue Devil Brayden Hall missed all-state honors by a single stroke after going 91-87=178. Ethan Bennett shot consecutive rounds of 106 for the Pleasants County program.
“Really, nothing, honestly,” quipped Barnhart when asked what was going good out on the course.
His afternoon was summed up at No. 8 where he was just off the green with a birdie chance.
“That was kind of cool,” he added. “I duffed my chip and it went about a foot and then I made the par putt. That was cool. It (winning another title and getting all-state) means a lot. At the beginning of the year we didn’t know really where we stood.
“We lost two of our key players last year and they were both solid. This year Ethan and Brayden were our three and four and they really stepped it up. It’s been a blessing. We didn’t even know if we would get one golf match in. Getting to play was awesome. It really was.”
Xavier Caruthers led the ‘Jackets for a second straight all-state finish. He followed an 88 on Tuesday with an 83 to finish in solo fifth place.
“That would’ve been nice to at least get second. We really thought we had a chance today to win,” Caruthers admitted. “Everything was just pretty mediocre I’d say. Not the worst day. I was really surprised we made it as a team, honestly.
“I thought we had four of the top four, five teams in the state in our regional. The goal overall, obviously, was to win. It’s always the goal is to win, but I guess we’re happy with third. We really wanted second at least.”
WHS head coach Rich Siley agreed.
“I’m very pleased,” said the coach, who watched William Barniak place 16th, Baylor Haught 21st and Gavin Bosgraf 27th.. “I thought we could come out here and at least runner-up today, but the course jumped up and bit us and the conditions were pretty tough.
“At least we got them some experience, I guess. Moorefield snuck in ahead of us. (The regional) is a mini state tournament. There were four teams in that region who should be here this week. We were lucky to get out, but we played pretty well.”
Ripley’s Davis Haynes played well enough to land the only other area all-state honor. The Viking followed his 83 with an 80 to finish in seventh place. Brooke’s Ryan Bilby (77-72=149) repeated as medalist while Wheeling Park (242-244=486) edged George Washington (247-242=489) for the Class AAA team crown.
Parkersburg South’s Mace Busch, who was in second after Tuesday, had an 89 on Wednesday after carding a 78. He finished one stroke shy of all-state and tied for ninth. Viking Andrew Manley tied for 17th. PSHS, which finished sixth as a team, also was represented by Dustin Corley (21st), Eli Reeves (34th) and Blake Snyder (36th).
Shady Spring, led by back-to-back medalist accolades from Todd Duncan, won the Class AA team race as Roane County finished sixth. Raider Cole Ellis couldn’t match his day one 85 and carded a 101 on Wednesday to tie for 19th place. Garrett Simon (T22nd), Emerson Simons (25th) and Bryson Watson (30th) also competed both days for the Raiders.
Wahama was led by Connor Ingels (T14th) and Sydney Baird (T19th) paced Webster County. Gilmer County’s James Mohr was the lone Titan qualifier and he also tied for 19th.
When asked about pulling off a three-peat, coach Hamilton said “we’ll take it a year at a time. However, I’ll still have all four of these guys back next year so we are definitely looking forward to another good year.”
Lawhon completely agreed and added “the thing is, though, it’s promising for next year because there’s so much work to improve on. We’ll be back next year, too.”
Contact Jay Bennett at email@example.com