Chargers win regional golf title

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Central High School’s varsity golf team outplayed the competition in Monday’s Class 1 Region B tournament at The Manor Golf Club in Farmville, shooting a team score of 344 to bring home the program’s first regional championship since 1987.

“It’s pretty big,” Chargers Head Coach Richard McDaniel said of the title win, adding that his players are “all pretty excited.”

The Chargers placed first out of five teams and won by 11 strokes in the 18-hole tournament as Stonewall Jackson High School, of Quicksburg, placed second with a 355.

Sophomore Cole Williams led the way for Central with an 84, junior Joseph McDaniel shot an 86, as did senior Cary Parrish, senior Noah Dunbar produced an 88 and junior Thomas McDaniel shot a 90.

“The individual part wasn’t that big of a deal,” Williams said, referring to his contribution. “I just wanted to win as a team.”

Parrish, who has been part of the Central golf program for four years, said, “I’m glad I got to do it one out of my four years. It made it even more special that it’s my senior year, so I get to finish with a bang.”

It is a bang that resonates throughout the school’s athletic department, representing the first Central regional team championship won since the boys track team earned one in 1998.

“We are thrilled that our golf team was able to win the Region 1 – B Championship,” Central Athletic Director Wallace Owen said. “They have worked hard to improve and have had a great season. We wish them the best of luck at the state tournament next week.”

This is the first year of the Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) latest realignment, which grouped into Class 1 Region B the five teams competing Monday, some of which were less than familiar with each other.

“I’m not surprised we competed well, but I just didn’t know enough to have any idea of, ‘Well, we can beat this team, or we can’t beat that team,’” Coach McDaniel said. “I felt like we could compete because it was at The Manor. We had been there before and been there a couple weeks ago at the district (tournament).”

Central placed third out of eight eligible teams in the James River District tournament Sept. 19.

Analyzing the Chargers’ regional performance at The Manor, Parrish said, “Last time we played there at district, we shot a 360, and we improved by 16 strokes today, so that was good.”

Coach McDaniel said, “Thomas improved 13 strokes over the district match, and Noah improved 16 strokes over the district match, so that was pretty big in us improving our score today.”

Only the top four individual scores produced on a team end up counting toward the overall team score. Each player enters a match or tournament with an individual seeding on their team, and the tentative expectation is that the top four seeds will produce the top four scores.

Dunbar exceeded expectations and drew praise from Williams when Williams was prompted to list keys to the regional win.

“The main one was our No. 5 came in with an 88 today, helped us get our fourth score up,” he said.

The Chargers will compete in the 2017 VHSL Class 1A state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg. Each day will feature an 18-hole round, involving the champions from each of the four Class 1 regions.

Parrish noted it is a big deal to be able to compete in the tourney.

“It’s been a long time, I know, since any whole team from Central has gone to a state tournament,” he said. “I don’t know who we’re playing or what kind of shot we’ve got, but I think we’ll do alright once we get up there. (It’s a) two-day tournament, so it’ll be a little different. I hope we can do alright, though.”

Williams said that he and his teammates will just “do the best we can, try and play the first day conservative, see how we place the first day and then try and cut it on the second day.”

Coach McDaniel said the Chargers have never played at Heritage Oaks, but they will get the opportunity to play a practice round there Sunday.

The first tee time Monday will be 9 a.m.