The Hylton golf team met one of its season-long goals Monday by qualifying for next week's Virginia AAA state championship in Leesburg. The Bulldogs got there by finishing second at the Northwestern Region tournament at Westlake Country Club near Roanoke.
The Bulldogs' top four golfers shot a combined 324, six strokes behind regional champion Franklin County and two strokes ahead of third-place Albemarle. Franklin County had the advantage of having played matches on Westlake's par-72 course this season; Hylton had seen the course just once--in Sunday's practice round. On a day that featured winds of 15-20 mph at times, Matt Chandler of Franklin County won the individual title with a par 72. Senior Chris Gentile led Hylton with a 76, followed by senior Matt Buttgereit's 77, sophomore Dan Powe's 85 and senior Brad Piper's 86.
"We did what we set out to do, which was qualify for states, but we didn't play as well as we can," Hylton Coach Rick Pennline said. "When I found out that Franklin County's top guy literally lives on the fifth hole, I didn't feel as bad about not winning it. It was a tough, tight course, and you had to know it to do well."
Brooke Point finished sixth overall with a score of 342, and Woodbridge finished eighth with 354. Osbourn junior Jonathan Sumner qualified as an individual for the state tournament with a 77.
Gentile had the misfortune of a triple bogey on his last ball of the day.
"The greens were cut and rolled [Monday] morning, so they were playing a lot faster than they were in the practice rounds," Pennline said. "We usually like fast greens, but this time we struggled with it a little."
Pennline said he would have liked to face Franklin County on a course equally unfamiliar to both teams. He will get that chance Monday and Tuesday at Raspberry Falls in Leesburg.
"We felt that once we got to the states, anybody could win it," Pennline said. "It made the trip home a lot easier. We weren't coming home with nothing left."
Vikings Fall in Tennis
Woodbridge Coach Lewis Forrest preached to his team all season that many of the Vikings' district foes were not a good measuring stick for their postseason readiness. Forrest knew better talent awaited his Vikings if they advanced to regionals, and yesterday E.C. Glass of Lynchburg proved him right by handing Woodbridge an 8-1 loss in the Northwestern Region final.
The Vikings (16-1) still qualify for the Virginia AAA state tournament and will travel to Richmond Tuesday to face Mills Godwin in the quarterfinals. But yesterday was an eye-opening experience.
"We played E.C. Glass when Emily [Heberer] and I were freshmen, so we weren't that surprised," Woodbridge senior Mariko Esannason said. "But I think for some of the newcomers it was a bit of a shock."
Woodbridge's lone victory came when the Hilltoppers' No. 1 player, senior Spencer Brown, injured her left thumb catching a Gatorade bottle after the first game of the No. 1 doubles match. Brown withdrew from the match, giving Woodbridge seniors Esannason and Heberer the win by default.
Brown went to a nearby health clinic for X-rays, which were negative. Despite a severe sprain, Brown said she plans to play in today's regional doubles final against Stafford's Krista Eck and Laura Johnson. Senior Drew Fogarte, the Hilltoppers' No. 5 singles player, will be available to substitute if Brown cannot play.
The doubles final will follow the singles final--Stafford's Eck is also in that match--which is scheduled for noon at Woodbridge. If it rains, the matches will be moved to Woodbridge Sport and Health Center and begin at 10 a.m.
E.C. Glass (16-1) dominated the singles matches, winning all but one in straight sets. Sophomore Meredith Gravely and senior Alison Tursky each needed less than 40 minutes to dispatch Heberer at No. 2 and Carson McCain at No. 6, respectively.
The closest match of the day was sophomore Nicole Dukes's 6-2, 6-7 (7-1), 6-3 marathon loss to sophomore Kelly Mayer. The match lasted 3 hours 19 minutes.
"Toward the end I was starting to get tired, and mentally I was a little out of it," Dukes said. "Earlier, though, I was fine--I just didn't stroke the ball like I should have. I was pushing it too much."
Forrest said he was proud of his team despite the lopsided results.
"I think there are three country clubs that feed into [E.C. Glass]," Forrest said. "We could have played better tennis today, but when you look at how far we've come with what we have this year, it still gives you goose bumps."
Indians' Evans Is 8th
Gar-Field junior Dionne Evans placed eighth on Saturday at the Georgetown Prep Cross-Country Classic in Bethesda. Evans finished the 3.1-mile course in 19:24.70. Lake Braddock All-Met senior Erin Swain was the overall girls individual winner in 18:13.40.
The Gar-Field boys team finished fourth with 165 points. Wakefield won with 112 points.
CAPTION: No. 1 singles player Mariko Esannason serves for Woodbridge in match against E.C. Glass. At left, the Vikings' No. 2 singles player, Emily Heberer, watches No. 1 singles match after losing to Meredith Gravely of E.C. Glass, which beat Woodbridge, 8-1, in the Northwestern Region final.