State golf tournament -- Catholic captures team title; Buffalo's Hoshor takes medalist honors
CHARLESTON -- Charleston Catholic built a big lead during the first day of the high school golf state tournament and kept its foot on the pedal in Wednesday's final round.
The Irish shot a 245 to top Madonna by 21 strokes and capture the Class A state championship at the Oglebay Resort's Trent Jones Course in Wheeling. It is Catholic's sixth championship since 1999, and marks the first time the Irish have won back-to-back state championships.
Charleston Catholic coach Bill Gillipsie said the oldest player on his team, junior Aaron Persily, helped establish an attitude within the team that second place would be a letdown this season.
"This means a lot," Gillispie said in a phone interview. "Aaron Persily said it best. He told the team, 'I know we won last year and I know we've alternated [titles], but this is our year. It means a lot to me and I really want this one more than I wanted the one last year.' Him saying that set the tone."
Catholic entered play Wednesday with a 15-stroke lead on Madonna and despite higher scores from the Irish compared to the first round, it was able to extend the lead and secure the championship.
"We did not start out playing well, but about halfway through the round they got it together," Gillispie said. "Even though we won one [last year], we stressed that you don't take these things for granted."
Persily finished third in the race for the individual crown in Class A. Teammate Christian Casingal, last year's individual champion, took second while Buffalo junior Cory Hoshor fired a final-round 75 to edge the duo for medalist honors. Hoshor was the only Class A golfer to shoot in the 70s for both rounds of the tournament.
In Class AAA, Wheeling Park's recent run of dominance came to an end in the team competition. University held on to its first-round lead to win the championship and deny the Patriots a third consecutive state title.
The Hawks had a team score of 453 to beat Park by six strokes. Cabell Midland shot a 469 to finish third, with George Washington's 476 earning fourth place.
Two-time defending Class AAA individual champion Thadd Obecny from Wheeling Park also lost his grasp on the championship, shooting a 148 and finishing two-strokes behind teammate Cole Hand. Obecny tied for second place with University's Eric Wirth, who also shot a 148.
GW's Will Evans shot a 153 to tie for fifth with University's Trent McPherson, while Winfield's Chris Williams was a stroke behind Evans and McPherson in a tie for seventh with Cabell Midland's Jacob Beahrs and Seth Kinker.
Poca earned its third runner-up trophy in as many years, finishing the tournament with a 492, three strokes behind Class AA champion Roane County.
"Today we shot the same score as we did yesterday and [Roane County] had a kid shoot a 75 that ended up being the medalist," Poca coach Doug Smith said in a telephone interview. "Just like last year, we lost by three strokes to Ritchie County and this year we lost by three to Roane County. We had a lead, but it's so close up there. A lead at the state golf match, unless it's 15 or 20 strokes, can be overtaken."
The Dots' Travis Covert claimed third place individually in Class AA. Roane's Alston Spears shot a 156, two strokes better than Covert, to win medalist honors. Bluefield's Evan Smith shot a 157 for second place.
"[Covert] has played well," Smith said. "He just stumbled a little bit today. He made all-state and finished third overall, so I'm happy in that regard."
Reach Tom Bragg at email@example.com.