After three straight runner-up finishes at the state high school golf tournament, Poca has its sights set on bringing home the trophy when the event tees off Tuesday at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.
"I think we have a good chance at winning," said Poca coach Doug Smith. "David [Scragg] knows the course, playing there last year and Travis [Covert] is a senior and he's been there a couple times."
To help prepare for the challenge that awaits, the Dots have been practicing at Sleepy Hollow instead of their home course at Scarlet Oaks.
The difficult greens at Sleepy are harder to navigate and are similar to those found at Oglebay.
"The greens at Sleepy Hollow are faster, and cut front to back, so you can't put the ball above the hole" said Smith. "If you do, it'll be a three- or four-putt hole."
Buffalo coach Joey Rogers seems to agree with Smith about how the course at Oglebay differs from the courses they usually play on.
"The elevation changes and the greens are faster," Rogers said. "It will be a true test of how far we've come from last year."
The Bison feature three seniors that played on last year's team that finished third at the state tournament.
Cory Hoshor will be competing in his third state tournament, having qualified as an individual in 2010 and 2011. Bradley Harris and Blaik Caplinger will be playing in their second tournament.
Rogers is confident in his team and said he thinks they have a chance to be right in the thick of things Wednesday evening when the event winds down.
"Charleston Catholic as a very good program," said Rogers. "If we play our best, we could be in contention at the end."
The Irish are looking to win their third title in as many years, fourth in the last five, and become the first team to win three in a row since Hurricane did it from 2007-09.
"We are excited to defend our title," said Catholic coach Bill Gillispie. "We are pretty relaxed and confident."
That confidence comes with good reason.
Senior Aaron Persily is competing in his third state tournament and has finished second individually twice. Junior Christian Casingal is also entering his third tournament and was the top finisher 2011 as a freshman. Freshman Cameron Blakely and sophomore Nick Casingal each had top-five finishes in the regional tournament.
"If you have four guys at 76 or below, you're going to be pretty tough to beat," said Gillispie.
Another area golfer, George Washington junior Kyle Byrd, qualified for the state tournament as an individual.
State tournament pairings
At Oglebay Resort, Trent Jones Course