The Forest Park golf team finished the regular season undefeated and won the Cardinal District championship by 45 strokes, but the Bruins fell just short of their stated goal of reaching the Virginia AAA tournament.
At Monday's Northwestern Region match at Forest Greens Golf Club in Triangle, Forest Park shot a four-player total of 318 to finish a close third. Franklin County won with a 304, and Albemarle earned the region's second state berth with a 315.
For the second straight season, Forest Park will send an individual golfer to the state meet. Freshman Joe Buttgereit, who shot a 3-over par 75 on Monday to finish third among individuals, is one of two Prince William golfers who qualified for the Virginia AAA championships Tuesday-Wednesday at the Piedmont Club in Haymarket. Potomac junior Daniel Jones (77) also advanced.
"It feels good to go to states, but it would have been more fun for the whole team to go instead of just myself," Buttgereit said. "I hope I can play the way I normally do at states, but I'll probably be a little nervous."
Forest Park senior Evan Howarth shot a 79, and sophomore Jerry Roma and senior Brady Williams each shot an 82. Roma, who last week shot a 3-under par 69 on the same course to win Cardinal District individual honors, struggled to a 44 on the front nine Monday -- including an 11 on the first hole. Afterward, Roma consulted with Bruins Coach Babette Overman on his approach.
"When you shoot an 11 on the first hole, you start to think about the would've, should've, could've," Overman said. "As we walked down hole number one, we talked about the ability to recover. I said you're going to have to play golf now and focus.
"He did just that with a couple of birdies on the front nine that gave him a 44, and then to shoot a 38 on the back nine, that's a great recovery. There's no doubt that as a young man, especially with him only being a sophomore, that this day made him a better golfer."
After Monday's match, Overman tried to balance the joy of seeing one of her players advance to states with the disappointment of the team missing out.
"This is the best that the school has ever done in a regional tournament in its short history. I'm happy," Overman said. "Even with some of the rough starts, you look at how we came back and you can see the best is yet to come in regards to our future with our youth on the team. I told them that this has been a wonderful season."
Cedar Run District champion Battlefield finished fourth as a team with a 325, led by freshman Pierce Bishop (79) and senior Stephen Spaulding (80), the district individual champion. Potomac finished fifth at 348.