With one day of the high school state golf tournament in the books at the Oglebay Resort's Trent Jones Course in Wheeling, Kanawha Valley golfers have put themselves and their teams in position to win titles today.
In Class A, defending state champion Charleston Catholic built a sizeable lead by firing a team score of 236, topping Madonna, currently in second place, by 15 strokes. Buffalo sits in third with a 254, three strokes behind the Blue Dons.
"Our goal was to shoot between 235 and 240," Catholic coach Bill Gillispie said in a telephone interview. "We kind of thought if we played pretty decent that's about where we would be and the guys came through. We're definitely happy with it."
Fighting Irish sophomore Christian Casingal, the Class A individual champion a year ago, leads again this year after the first day. Casingal shot a 75, one stroke better than teammate Aaron Persily's 76. Buffalo's Cory Horshor sits in third with a first round score of 79.
It might seem like deja vu for Charleston Catholic. Last year's team, which featured three of the four golfers the Irish used Tuesday, built a comfortable lead on Madonna after the first day on its way to the school's fifth golf state championship since 1999.
"Last year with the same three guys we were up by 18 on Madonna," Gillispie said. "Being in the same situation last year that we are this year is going to give us a little bit of knowledge. We want to play the golf course the best we can."
The Irish's other two golfers also fared well Tuesday. Jordan Covelli shot an 85 and Jackson Ellis a 93, good enough to keep the team well in front. Gillispie said he was going to make a change with his roster today, however.
Allie Persily, younger sister of teammate Aaron Persily, will become the first female in school history to play golf at the state tournament when she tees off today as the Irish's No. 4 golfer.
Charleston Catholic and Buffalo are not the only Kanawha Valley teams in the hunt for titles entering today.