MORRISTOWN — Individual champion Allison Woodward led the Science Hill girls to the Region 1-AAA golf championship on Monday at The Country Club of Morristown.
Woodward, who had four birdies and seven bogeys in her round of 75, defeated Dobyns-Bennett’s Haverly Harrold for individual medalist by one stroke.
“It was an up-and-down day, but I scrambled,” said Woodward, a senior who is committed to Virginia Tech. “I had some great holes, some good putts, but some bad tee shots. I played out of the rough all day, but I putted and two-putted all day to make par. It’s nice to pull out a decent score when you’re struggling.
“And I’m extremely proud of my team. Being able to go as a team, it’s really an honor.”
Woodward has qualified for the state individually each of her four seasons, but it’s the first time as a team member.
The Lady ‘Toppers won by 20 strokes, 155-175, over a trio of runner-up squads from Dobyns-Bennett, South-Doyle and Jefferson County.
“I credit Allison a lot,” Science Hill coach Kevin Vannoy said. “She came in as freshman with one of her goals always to make the state tournament. She’s promised every year, and she delivered again today.”
On the boys’ side, the Hilltoppers barely missed on two accounts.
The Science Hill boys finished second to Dobyns-Bennett (309-314) in the team standings, while Drew Poland and Jack Rhea each fell one stroke short of making the state as individuals.
“We thought we were in it going into (No.) 15,” Vannoy said. “But give credit to D-B. They played exceptionally well. Their top two didn’t play as well, but their four and five (players) came through. As a team, they outplayed us today.”
Back on the girls’ side, freshman Addie Baggarly added an 80 in Science Hill’s victory. She credited her senior teammate for helping her improve this season.
“It’s been a great honor to play with Allie her last year,” Baggarly said. “She’s like a big sister and she’s taught me a lot. There’s no state tournament in middle school, so going there as a team, this should be fun.”
Junior Erica Qin will also be headed to the state tournament after posting an 87 which didn’t count among the team’s total. She believes going to the state as a team will help Woodward and Baggarly more than if they had qualified individually.
“I feel like our golf team is a really big family and the companionship helps a lot with our game,” Qin said. “I think it will help a lot going together.”
Haley Wagner of Daniel Boone was plenty happy to qualify as an individual after some tense moments. She opened play with an eagle, but had bogeys on five of her next seven holes in a round of 81. Despite the off day, she still met her goal of making the state tournament.
“I couldn’t get in a rhythm today, but I did well enough to go to state and get to the next level,” said Wagner, who is committed to Samford. “I was really worried because I came down here and shot 70 earlier this year. I was really upset about my round, but it happened for a reason and I’m going to state so that’s all that matters.”
The Science Hill girls and Wagner will head to next week’s state tournament at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester, along with boys’ individual medalist Kodey Popplewell of Cherokee who finished with a 73. They will also be joined by a Dobyns-Bennett boys’ team which had guys score up and down its lineup.
William Nottingham and Drew Doran paced the Indians with a pair of 76 rounds. James Beckner posted a 77, and Eddie Karst and Andrew Nottingham came in with 80s.
“I’m proud because we did what it took today to get by,” D-B head coach T.J. Ross said. “We’ve kind of been in a rut lately. Hopefully, we’ve got that behind us because we’ve got to do better when we get down to state.”
Science Hill’s runner-up finish included a 79 from Garrett Whitfield, and an 81 and 82 respectively from Jake Aaroen and Peter Chang. Their head coach talked about the big contributions Chang, Poland and Aareon all made to the ‘Topper program.
“I’m really proud of all three of our seniors,” Vannoy said. “Drew, Peter and Jake have been mentors and have helped mold the young kids. It’s paid off. Garrett and Jack have been solid the last 2-3 weeks, and it’s basically come from those seniors trying to bond the team.”
The Class AAA state championships are set for next Tuesday and Wednesday.