WHEELING, W.Va. — There was a 30-year wait between state championships for the St. Marys golf program, which claimed its second title in school history last season.
The wait for a third championship for the Blue Devils was a mere 12 months as St. Marys had three golfers finish among the top nine individuals in Class A, leading to a team total of 523 and a 16-shot victory at Speidel Golf Club’s Jones Course.
“I’m really excited how they performed the past couple days,” St. Marys coach Catie Hamilton said. “These were tough conditions and we have a really strong team.”
For the Blue Devils, Brandon Lawhon was third in Class A with a 168 (83-85). Teammates Grant Barnhart and Brayden Hall finished eighth and ninth with a 177 and 178, respectively.
“Grant and Brandon always remain consistent,” Hamilton said. “The biggest key to the past two days was remaining level-headed. Every shot isn’t going to turn out how you want it to, but we did well recovering from those shots and we were able to pull it off.”
In Class AAA, Wheeling Park claimed its sixth title, totaling a 486 to edge George Washington’s 489.
Park was led by Noah Seivertson, who finished second in Class AAA with a 153 (78-75). James Salvatori (166) and Gavin Goodrich (167) also placed in the top 10 and were instrumental in WPHS taking home the crown.
Riding the performance of repeat low medalist Todd Duncan in Class AA, Shady Spring posted a relatively comfortable win to claim its first state championship. The Tigers followed a 258 on the first day of states with a 261, giving them a seven-shot cushion over runner-up North Marion and an eight-shot advantage over third-place finisher Robert C. Byrd.
Although Duncan didn’t match his 150 from the state tournament last year, rounds of 77-78 were good for Class AA low medalist by six strokes.
“It makes it a lot better with a team win and not just yourself,” Duncan said. “It’s more about the team than just yourself. But it was playing super tough out there. It was very windy all day. I struggled and made a couple big numbers, but I kept battling and fighting. I was very relieved after finishing.”
Tanner Vest finished with a 167 and took fourth in AA, which proved pivotal for the Tigers in winning the title.
The Flying Eagles were sixth among eight Class AA teams after the opening round, but easily led all of AA with a 250 on the second day of the tournament.
Like Duncan, Brooke’s Ryan Bilby claimed consecutive low medalist honors. The Bruins’ senior followed his opening round 77 with a 1-over par 72, allowing him to best Seiverston by four shots for top honors in Class AAA.
“I thought today was tougher than yesterday,” Bilby said. “The winds were way higher today. But I got off to a really good start. I made a couple silly bogeys in the middle there, but 1-over today is a pretty good score.”
Bilby, who was 2-under par through eight holes Wednesday, made his third birdie on No. 14, before carding a bogey on No. 17 that resulted in a finish over par.
“The greens are really quick and they have a lot of slope,” Bilby said. “You cannot shortside yourself, otherwise it’s really tough. It’s hilly. There are a lot of weird bounces you can get.”
Bilby wasn’t the only medalist to shed five strokes off his opening round total. Parkersburg Catholic sophomore Blake Lewis accomplished the same feat, going from an 81 to a 76 to finish as Class A medalist by six shots.
Wheeling Central’s Justin Doerr was second among individuals with a 163. Doerr held a two-shot lead over Lewis after the first day, but concluded with an 84.
“Playing with a little bit of pressure helped me out. I knew I had to shoot a good score to finish first,” Lewis said.
Lewis made birdie on the seventh, 16th and 17th holes Wednesday.
Moorefield was the Class A runner-up with a 539.
North Marion’s Michael Harris was the closest finisher to Duncan with a 161.
Woodrow Wilson’s Zan Hill made a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh Wednesday. The ace was key in Hill shooting a 76 and finishing fourth in Class AAA with a 161.
In his opening round, Hill fired an 85 that included a double bogey on No. 7.