PARKERSBURG - Whether it is the youth of the Parkersburg High golfers or even an upperclassman like St. Marys junior Robbie Harper, the start of the postseason can provide some anxious moments.
This week's regional meets begin today for most schools in the state of West Virginia, and continue Tuesday for Class AA programs such as Roane County, Ritchie County and Ravenswood.
Stacked with primarily a sophomore and freshman-based roster, PHS joins Parkersburg South in a eight-member Class AAA field today at Preston Country Club in Kingwood. Defending state champion Wheeling Park is the prohibitive favorite to occupy one of the two qualifying spots. University also fields a strong program.
Photos by Kerry Patrick
Freshman Adeena Shears and her Parkersburg South teammates compete at today’s Region I golf meet at Preston Country Club in Kingwood.
In addition to the top two teams, the top two golfers not members of a qualifying team at each regional advance to next week's (Oct. 2-3) state meet at Speidel Golf Course at Oglebay Park in Wheeling.
"(Region I at Preston Country Club) is definitely the strongest regional out of all of them - it would be a major accomplishment if we qualify," PHS coach Don Snider said. "We are young, but they have been getting better with every round. I think we have kind of surprised ourselves with being a little better than we thought we might be.
"They are going to approach this as if they are going to win. They don't know any other way. We are as capable as anybody of putting up good scores."
High school golf
W.Va. regional tournaments
Region I (At Preston Country Club, today): Brooke, John Marshall, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Preston, University, Wheeling Park
Region III (At Lewisburg Elks Country Club, today): Capital, George Washington, Greenbrier East, Oak Hill,
Princeton, Ripley, Riverside, Shady Spring, South Charleston, Woodrow Wilson
Region I (At Greenhills Country Club, Tuesday): Braxton County, East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior, North Marion, Oak Glen, Ravenswood, Ritchie County, Roane County, Webster County, Weir
Region I (At Williams Country Club, today): Bishop Donahue, Clay-Battelle, Madonna, Magnolia, Paden City, St. Marys, Trinity, Tyler Consolidated, Wheeling Central
Region IV (At Big Bend Golf Course, today): Buffalo, Charleston Catholic, Gilmer County, Parkersburg Catholic, St. Joe Central, Wahama, Williamstown, Wirt County
Note: All regionals start at 9 a.m. Top two teams in addition to top two individuals who are not members of a qualifying team at each regional site advance to the state tournament at Speidel Golf Course at Oglebay Park in Wheeling on Oct. 2-3.
Ohio sectional tournaments
Division 3 boys
Wednesday, Sept. 26: Belpre competes at Chillicothe Jaycees Golf Course. Top two teams in addition to top two individuals who are not members of a qualifying team advance to district tournament.
Division 2 girls
Monday, Sept. 24: Belpre competes at Upper Landsdowne Golf Course in Circleville. Top three teams in addition to top three individuals who are not members of a qualifying team advance to district tournament.
Also in Class AAA, Ripley will join nine other schools at the Region III tournament at Lewisburg Elks Country Club in Lewisburg.
Two sites will be utilized by Mid-Ohio Valley representatives at the Class A level, including Region I participants Magnolia, Paden City, St. Marys and Tyler Consolidated competing at Williams Country Club in Weirton. Of the teams on its schedule, St. Marys has not lost to anyone in its regional. However, the Blue Devils have not faced Madonna on its home course at Williams CC.
One St. Marys golfer in particular is looking forward to his first experience in the postseason. Harper, who plays No. 2 for the Blue Devils, is the younger brother of Alex Seago who won an individual state title for the Pleasants County school in 2008.
After suffering football-related knee injuries during his freshman and sophomore year, Harper decided to concentrate on golf this year.
"I said enough is enough," said Harper, who finished fifth and earned all-league honors at last week's Little Kanawha Conference Meet at Woodridge Golf Club in Mineral Wells. "The LKC is definitely a confidence booster going into the biggest tournaments of my career."
In Region IV at Big Bend Golf Course in Tornado, local schools include Gilmer County, Parkersburg Catholic, Wahama, Williamstown and Wirt County.
"We know Charleston Catholic is strong, and I think we have a chance to come in second or maybe even better if Charleston Catholic blows up - but I don't anticipate that," Williamstown coach Russ Schramm.
Williamstown is coming off a runner-up finish at the LKC Meet on the strength of sophomore Mac McCormick's second-place showing in the individual standings.
"I've played Big Bend two or three times - you just have to play it safe," McCormick said.
Two-time defending Class AA state champion Ritchie County will have its hands full in Region I at Greenhills Country Club in Ravenswood on Tuesday. After winning the LKC championship, the Raiders' record improved to 151-10-1.
During the Top Flite Junior Tour High School Series, Roane County fell 50 points shy of becoming the first non-Class AAA program to win the overall title since the event began 2007.
"We see Greenhills as a home-course advantage because our kids play that course a lot," Roane County coach Jim Kendall said. "It's close to home and my guys can go over and play it any time they want to."
Ohio follows the same format as West Virginia for advancing - the top two teams in addition to the top two golfers not members of an advancing team secure a berth for districts.
Belpre also has two individuals - Jackie Cunningham and Alana DeLancey competing in today's girls Division 3 sectional at Upper Landsdowne Golf Course in Circleville. Cunningham just missed qualifying for districts last year.
In order to advance, the twosome must finish among the top three individual placewinners.