The St. Marys golf team figured it would cause concern for other schools as the season progressed, and the Blue Devils held up their end of the bargain during Monday's Class A, Region I Meet at Williams Country Club in Weirton.
Behind a 5-over par 77 from freshman Drew Wells, St. Marys earned one of two qualifying spots and advanced to next week's state tournament for the third time in school history and the first time since 2008.
"No matter what happens next week in Wheeling, we will have everybody back next year so we are going up there to get some experience and enjoy," St. Marys coach Howard Meeks said.
While St. Marys was the lone representative from the Mid-Ohio Valley to survive yesterday's 40-degree temperatures as a team, several local golfers punched their ticket who were not members of a qualifying team.
One year after losing in a playoff to a teammate for the last individual qualifying spot at regionals, Parkersburg South sophomore Alex Schreckengost found redemption after shooting a 7-over 79 at the Class AAA, Region I meet at Preston Country Club.
"I was fighting all the way through my round - my putting saved me a lot," Schreckengost said.
Parkersburg Catholic junior Ben Collie also was looking to prove himself after missing the cut for last week's Little Kanawha Conference all-tournament team by one stroke. At the Class A, Region IV meet at Big Bend Golf Course, Collie overcame two double-bogeys in his first three holes and finished with an 8-over 79.
"I shot 1-under on the front at LKC then blew up on the back - that night, all I was thinking about was the only tournament that mattered and that was regionals," Collie said. "I put LKC in the past, put it totally out of my mind and focused on today. I started off slow then kind of got the nerves out of my system and played each shot one at a time."
Gilmer County's Austin Cunningham matched Collie's 79 and claimed the other individual qualifying berth at Big Bend Golf Course, while Tyler Consolidated's Corey Wells kept his Class A postseason hopes alive after turning in an 81 at Williams Golf Course.
Class AAA, Region I
KINGWOOD, W.Va. -A subpar performance from defending state champion Wheeling Park kept several schools in the hunt for a possible upset, but the Patriots (236) were able to finish second behind University (231) and hold off challenges from third-place Parkersburg South (241) and fourth-place Parkersburg High (251).
"Wheeling Park was ripe for the picking," PHS coach Don Snider said.
Scoring for the Big Reds were sophomores Austin Davis (83), Lucas Prine (84) and Lauryn Davidson (84).
"We have a solid base for next year," Snider said.
For South, freshman Adeena Shears just missed the cut with an 80 and senior Trent McCutcheon closed out his high school career with an 82.
"At one point, Adeena was 1-under - she just couldn't get any putts to fall on her second nine," South coach Sherry Morris said. "We'll be in good shape for next year. In the top eight to 10 kids, we only had the one senior."
Schreckengost kept his season going for another week after converting six one-putts on his last nine holes.
"I thought we had a chance as a team because Wheeling Park didn't have their 'A' game," Schreckengost said. "Today would have been a lot better if the whole team was up at state."
Class A, Region I
WEIRTON, W.Va. -Region I runner-up St. Marys (249) fell just seven strokes shy of matching regional champion Madonna (242) even though the Blue Dons were playing on their home course.
The Blue Devils' lineup not only included Wells finishing one stroke off the pace for medalist honors (claimed by Madonna's Michael Rogers with a 76), but also Coleman Lamp recording an 85 despite battling a back injury and Robbie Harper carding an 87.
Wells turned in one of his better rounds of the season after opening 1-under through his first five holes.
"We actually beat Madonna by more strokes on our home course during our invitational than they did today on their home course," Meeks said.
Class A, Region IV
TORNADO, W.Va. -Charleston Catholic (233) and Buffalo (240) were the two favorites to advance, but Parkersburg Catholic (247) nearly put a crimp in their plans. Fourth-place Williamstown (255) was followed by Wirt County (263) and Gilmer County (265) in the team standings.
"It was disappointing we couldn't make it as a team," Collie said.
A solid performance on the green enabled Collie to reserve his plans for Wheeling.
"In the last five holes or so, I made three testy par putts from about 4 feet," Collie said.