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Girls’ Golf Title Match a Reality

By Staff | Sep 26, 2018

Photo provided Anna Griffith makes an appearance at the West Virginia Girls Golf Invitational Championship at the Mingo Bottom Golf Course near Elizabeth in Wirt County.

For the first time ever in high school golf in West Virginia, girls have had a state championship match, and one local golfer was fortunate enough to play in this historic event. Other action from the past week saw the Knights’ varsity team finish out the regular season with a home match, while the Tyler Consolidated Middle School Knights traveled to Wheeling for a match.

It was a long-awaited day when TCHS Knights golfer Anna Griffith, along with 48 other girls from around the state, teed it up in the first West Virginia Girls Golf Invitational Championship at the Mingo Bottom Golf Course near Elizabeth in Wirt County.

“We have hoped for a state-level golf championship for high school girls for many, many years,” said Tyler Consolidated Golf Coach Joe Griffith. “It is so good to see it finally happen!”

Rain from Tropical Storm Gordon and then Hurricane Florence left the course soggy nearly everywhere, but the sun shone brightly on the girls who came to the invitational sponsored by the WVSSAC. This state championship was not preceded by a regional tournament to qualify the players, as is the case for the varsity golf teams. But coaches who felt their players were good enough to compete with the top players from across West Virginia were invited to bring their female team members to the tournament.

“This year, we only have one girl on our team,” noted Griffith. “Last year, we had three girls and it would have been great for them all to have had the chance to play in this tournament. But I guess you have to start somewhere.”

After 18 holes of play, Anna Griffith finished with a round of 120, placing her 31st out of the 49 girls participating. Medalist for the match was Olivia Hart, of Hurricane, who shot a fabulous score of three over par, 75. Runner-up Medalist was Dorothy Romanek, of Wheeling Park, who came in two strokes behind Hart, with 77. The only other area girl in the tournament was Krista Davis, of Ritchie County, who finished in 11th place with a score of 91.

Anna looked back on her participation in the inaugural event for girls golf in The Mountain State: “I was very honored to play in the first ever state tournament for girls golf, and I hope to go back my senior year.”

But she didn’t appreciate the soggy conditions. “It was not only very hot, but very wet, and that led to some trouble for me in the fairways. I hit some nice drives, but getting up to the green was a struggle on a lot of the holes.”

Her coach-and father-was hoping for a lower score for Anna. “If she had been able to play well in the fairways, she may have shot about 110. That would have placed her in 19th place.” Even so, he was very complimentary of the Mingo Bottom course considering the recent weather. “The folks at Mingo Bottom worked really hard to have the course in excellent shape in terms of mowing, even with all of the rain. But the ground was just saturated. Sometimes it was hard to find areas without casual water.”

Anna summed up the day by saying, “It was well organized and in spite of the heat and wetness, I really enjoyed the day, even though my feet hurt a lot by the end of six and a half hours of playing!”

WVSSAC officials at the tournament seemed very pleased with the turnout of girls, and pledged to continue the tournaments in the future, possibly moving the event around the state from year to year.

The Knights Varsity Golf Team closed out the regular season at home with their annual Parents Night match against Magnolia and Paden City on Wednesday, Sept. 19. The team opted to stay home for this match, rather than travel to Mingo Bottom for the LKC Tournament, which was rescheduled for the same day after being rained out on the previous Monday.

Seniors from all three teams were announced prior to the start of the home match to honor their high school careers, along with a covered dish dinner after the match for members of all three teams. For Tyler, this year’s seniors include Mack Gibbs, Haiden Placer and Gage Potoczny. Paden City seniors are Jordan Stackpole and Matt Saxon, while Magnolia’s lone senior is Olivia Mensore.

“Gibbs, Placer and Potoczny have been a part of our golf teams since they were in seventh grade,” said Coach Griffith. “They came to our golf camps to begin learning about golf many years ago, and it has been very good to work with them for all these years. They are three very fine young gentlemen, and we will miss having them as part of the team next year!”

Scores from the final high school match were: Magnolia, 177; Tyler, 225; and Paden City, 247. Medalist was Trey Blain, of Magnolia, who carded a round of 39, five over par.

Individual scores for the Knights were: Mack Gibbs, 54; Gage Potoczny, 55; Haiden Placer, 58; Anna Griffith, 58; Isaac Melvin, 58 and Ezra Reed, DNF.

Mack Gibbs looked back on his final match: “I had a good last match. I didn’t do the best, but I had fun. I am sad that it was my last match, but I am glad I got to play golf with some great teammates.”

Haiden Placer echoed those sentiments: “My last home match will always be a night I will remember, not for the score, but for the people who made these last few years great.”

The final senior, Gage Potoczny, also reflected on his high school career: “It was my last home match, and I feel privileged to have played for Coaches Griffith and Tucker for the past seven years. I have enjoyed every minute of it!”

Earlier this week, the high school team traveled, once again, to Mingo Bottom to finish up the season on Monday with the Regional Tournament.

Middle School golfers are still in action for another week, as they traveled north to Wheeling Park on Thursday, Sept. 20, to take on Ohio County, Linsly, and Barnesville, along with one player from Paden City.

Team scores were: Ohio County, 168; Tyler, 204; Linsly, 221; and Barnesville, 226.

The Middle School Knights got three rounds in the 40s, led by seventh-grader Chandler Ash, with 47. Eighth graders, Mason Nichols and Landen Miller, finished at 48 and 49, respectively. The fourth score to count in the team total was from Cooper Clayton, who came in at 61. Other TCMS individuals were: Evan Wise, 61; Nate Stollings, 63; Colby Nichols, 63; and Luke Deaton, 65.Paden City’s Will McGinnis shot 59.

“Going up the Wheeling Park hill on #8, and then back down on #9 can always be tough on the golfer, and this round was no exception,” said Coach Dave Tucker. “We got three nice rounds in the upper 40s, but we had nothing in the 50s. So we are hoping that a couple of the younger players can improve in the near future to the point that we have don’t have to count a fourth score in the 60s.”

The middle school team is in action today at the Sistersville Country Club, and will travel tomorrow to the Worthington Golf Course near Parkersburg Catholic High School. Finally, they will finish the season on Monday, Oct. 1, at the Wheeling Park Course.