Midland, HHS to represent Region IV in high school golf tournament
HURRICANE -- Cabell Midland's Seth Kinker endured a tough four-hole stretch on the back nine Monday in the West Virginia Class AAA, Region IV golf championship at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club.
Two double bogeys, a bogey and another double bogey on hole Nos. 14-17 sent Kinker 7-over-par for that stretch. But as he put it, his teammates covered for him. Kinker recorded par on the final hole for a 7-over 79. Mark Wilcox followed with 80 and the Knights trailed Winfield by four shots with two players left to report.
Hutton Light turned in an 88, but when Jacob Beahrs signed for 79, Cabell Midland posted a 238 and had just enough to win its first regional title since 2004 when Kinker's brother, Nathan, was a senior.
Huntington High added to the drama when its players started coming in. Thomas Frazier and Chase Toppins both checked in with 81. Todd Childers followed with a 100, so that left it up to Fisher Cross. The junior carded a 77, giving the Highlanders 239 overall and second place.
That means Cabell Midland and Huntington High will represent Region IV in the West Virginia High School Tournament, Oct. 2-3, on the Jones Course at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.
The Regional format is four players per team, with the top three scores counting.
"The guys hit the big shots when it matters," Kinker said.
"This is 20 times better than the 76," Cross said of the score he shot in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament at Berry Hills Country Club and made all-conference. "It's not a piece of paper. As a team, we get to experience the state tournament. The best feeling of my life."
Winfield settled for third. The Generals did have the co-medalist in Chris Williams. The senior who's signed to play college golf at Coastal Carolina, shot 76 and Hurricane's Alex Hambel matched him. They go to the state as at-large entries.
For Cabell Midland coach Bill Meadows, this was his first regional title.
"It's fantastic," he said. "I've always said the No. 3 and No. 4 players are the ones who get you there. That's what happened."
Kinker, Wilcox and Beahrs are making return trips to Wheeling. The Knights finished fifth a year ago.
"This feels good," said Beahrs, the lone senior. "It's a team thing. The whole team's going."
Huntington High players and coach J.D. Maue shared a lot of emotional hugs once they learned they'd qualified.
"It's nice to come through my senior year," Toppins said. "I've always wanted to go to the state. We played our best when it counted."
In August, the Highlanders played in the Ohio Valley Invitational in Wheeling at finished in the middle of the pack.
"I said let's book rooms for October," Cross said.
Cross was 5-over through his first seven holes and played even the rest of the way.
"I had to settle down," he said. "I got into a rhythm. The last couple of holes, standing over the drive I was shaking a bit. Nerves? I said forget it and hit the ball. Everything worked out."