RICHMOND — When Chantilly pulled into Meadowbrook Country Club early Sunday to take part in a practice round before this week’s Virginia 6A state golf tournament, the Chargers were turned away by rain showers.
Had this been a different team, one not led by a core of seniors and one not motivated by its runner-up finish in the last two state tournaments, perhaps the Chargers would have simply gone back to their hotel to rest. Instead, they furiously Googled local golf courses before finding a driving range where they could fire off shots through the rain. On Tuesday, Chantilly’s preparation and determination helped produce the 6A team title and an individual champion in senior Mike Sciorra.
“To have one last shot as seniors to win state after finishing second the last two years, and then do it is incredible,” Sciorra said while shaking his head.
Chantilly bypassed any dramatics en route to the title, winning by 14 strokes over Riverbend with a score of 583. Led by Sciorra’s two-day score of 1-under-par 141, the Chargers placed three other golfers (Juhee Bae, Connor Messick and Vishal Giri) in the top six to run away with the crown.
After beginning the second round in the same fashion as his previous five rounds — with a bogey — Sciorra used a hot putter to overcome his early struggles and gain steam on his last nine holes. His first birdie came on his 10th hole, followed a few holes later by a 20-foot putt that sealed his third birdie of the day and a second-round score of even-par 71.
“Mike Sciorra is a guy who hadn’t put two strong days together all season long and then he goes and wins the whole thing behind two great rounds. Redemption,” Chargers Coach Kurt Sporkmann said. “This team came together, put together two days of golf that met their full potential and redeemed what they had missed out on the last two years.”
In the 5A tournament, also at Meadowbrook Country Club, Nathan Chuwait also showed improvement in his second state appearance. The Jefferson sophomore used strong play with his irons and solid putting on the back nine to finish third individually.
Meantime, the Class 4A/3A tournament at Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisonburg was dominated by Loudoun County golfers. Dominion’s Erik Dulik carded a 1 over par (72-69 — 141) to win the state crown, and Loudoun Valley senior Ian Hildebrand also recorded a two-day score of 1 over to improve upon last year’s runner-up finish and win the 3A individual title.
After hooking several of his tee shots left during the 4A North region meet on the same course, Dulik trained hard with his instructor to correct those mistakes in time for state. The work paid off, as the Dominion senior birdied his first hole and hit 17 of 18 greens.
Hildebrand also made several adjustments to his game, albeit on the fly after bogeying four of his first five holes after the turn.
“I was very upset with myself and down, but my coach came up to me and said just play the shot that’s in the present,” Hildebrand said. “I knew these were the last few holes of my high school career and fortunately, I was able to make an eagle on the par-5 No. 7 to give me what I needed for the win.”