ELKIN — Make room in the case for another championship trophy earned by the 2016 Mount Airy Granite Bears golf team.
A week after taking the Northwest 1A Conference title, the team was back in action at the NCHSAA 1A Midwest Regionals at Cedarbrook Country Club in Elkin, where the newly crowned conference champs faced a challenging field that included not only Bishop McGuinness, the five-time defending state champs who Mount Airy bested in conference play by just two strokes, but also strong teams from Alleghany, host Elkin, East Surry, and Gray Stone Day.
To no one’s surprise, the host school turned out to be quite formidable playing on its home course. No one was surprised when a pair of Bishop golfers finished near the top of the leaderboard, either.
And probably no one was surprised that the best team of all was the one in the navy blue and white.
Mount Airy took first place in the team standings with a score of 313, edging out the Buckin’ Elks by three strokes to become the regional champions. Alleghany was third with a score of 319, and the Villains were fourth, tallying a 328. East Surry rounded out the top five with a score of 342. The Bears, Elks and Trojans will all advance as a team to the state championships on May 9-10 at Longleaf Country Club in Southern Pines, along with the top six individual golfers from schools that didn’t finish in the top three as a team.
For Mount Airy, Reagan Fitzgibbons finished fourth overall with a score of 75. Nabyant Wagner shot 77, Sam Nester 80, Christopher Dorsett 81 and Jared Pendleton 84.
Just as with the conference title last week, slow and steady delivered the title for the Bears. After nine holes, Alleghany actually led the championship with a score of 155. Elkin was four strokes behind, with Mount Airy in third at 160. Although both the Trojans and the Elks had one individual golfer shoot under par on the back nine, the Bears had four of their five entrants break 40 on their second nine (the fifth shot exactly 40) and surged past both challengers in the process.
Alleghany’s Dylon Wooten (36-34) and Chris Fillingame of Starmount (35-35) tied for medalist honors and had to have a three-hole playoff for the regional title, which Wooten won. Elkin’s Noah Hill shot 73 (38-35) to place third. Jais Norman of East Wilkes was all alone at 74. Tied at 75 were Fitzgibbons and Bishop’s Kevin Sowinski. The Villains’ Regan Erhardt was next, at 76, followed by Wagner, Alleghany’s Maines Hunter, and Elkin’s Beau Burgess, all at 77.
Advancing to the state finals along with the top three teams were Fillingame, Norman, Sowinski, Erhardt, Aaron Richardson of West Montgomery (81) and a second Starmount golfer, Carson Brown (82).
Individually, Parker Tilley was the low scorer for East Surry, with an 83. Also competing for the Cardinals were Griffin Hall (84), Brock Jessup (85), Jason Moore and Will Felts.