CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the Region 4 Class AA and Class A golf tournaments tee off at 9 a.m. Monday at the Big Bend course, one team will be looking to add to a winning streak and another will be trying to get over the proverbial hump.
Charleston Catholic, the two-time defending Class A state champion, looks poised to make a run at a third consecutive title.
"I think the guys are excited about the opportunity to defend our title," said Irish coach Bill Gillispie.
There is good reason for the team to be excited, since three players have championship experience. Junior Christian Casingal, senior Aaron Persily and junior Jackson Ellis all were contributors in winning the title last year.
Casingal leads the Irish with an average score of 73.5 strokes, with Persily second at 75.6 and freshman Cameron Blakley, last year's Kanawha County middle school champion, at 76.3.
Poca has been the state tournament runner-up the past three years in Class AA and has high hopes it can finally catch that elusive championship. Coach Doug Smith likes what he sees out of his players.
"We have kids that are committed to the game and work hard," Smith said. "We need a good run to reach the peak."
Poca senior Travis Covert and sophomores Alex Hamrich and David Scragg all are within tenths of a stroke of each other for the team lead in average.
To again qualify as a team for the state event, the Dots have to finish in the top two in team scoring against Herbert Hoover, Sissonville, Buffalo and Scott.
The AAA regionals are also set for Monday, with Region 3 at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston, with Capital, George Washington, Riverside and South Charleston in the field.
Huntington, Hurricane, St. Albans and Winfield will compete in Region 4 at Twin Silos Golf Course in Lavalette.
The top teams and individuals advance to the state tournament Oct. 8-9 on the Trent Jones Course at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling.