SOUTHERN PINES — The Mount Airy boys golf team entered the final day of the NCHSAA 1A State Championship facing an uphill battle, but by the end of the tournament, the Granite Bears had reached the mountain top.
Mount Airy won its first-ever boys’ golf team state championship on Tuesday by three strokes over the Community School of Davidson. All four golfers for the Bears shot in the 70s for the final round, with senior Christopher Dorsett finishing in fourth place in the individual competition at 7-over-par.
The Bears came into Tuesday’s action trailing CSD by seven shots, thanks to some struggles on the back nine during Monday’s opening round. However, Mount Airy improved its overall score on the final nine holes by 18 strokes on Tuesday to clinch the 1A championship. The Bears’ finished the event with a score of 610, besting CSD’s 613.
The only previous state titles for Mount Airy in boys’ golf were back-to-back individual titles by Kris Peavy in 1988 and 1989. The Bears also became the first traditional school to claim the 1A crown since 2010.
Nabyant Wagner showed the biggest improvement in the second day of the tournament. After needing 80 shots to complete the round on Monday, Wagner turned in a round of 73 on the 6,602-yard, par-71 course at the Longleaf Golf & Family Club. He tied with Dorsett and CSD’s Patten Williams for the lowest score of the second day. Williams took home the medalist honors at even par for the tournament.
Wagner finished 11-over-par, with Reagan Fitzgibbons (+9) and Sam Nester (+15) rounding out the scoring for Mount Airy. Fitzgibbons’ round of 73 on Monday was the lowest for Mount Airy and kept the Bears within striking distance of CSD, while Nester was consistent over the two-day event with rounds of 79 and 78, respectively. All four Mount Airy golfers finished in the top 16 of the individual standings. The team’s fifth member, senior Jared Pendleton, suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday and had to watch from the sideline as his teammates sent him out as a state champion.
Lincoln Charter came in third as a team at 620 and Pine Lake Prep finished fourth at 638. The next highest finisher among traditional schools was Alleghany, which finished fifth, 62 strokes behind the Bears.
On the individual leaderboard, Starmount’s Chris Fillingame tied with Swain County’s Grant Shuler for second place at 6-over-par. Fitzgibbons (sixth place) and Wagner (10th) joined Dorsett inside the top 10.
Check back in Sunday’s paper for more on the state-champion Mount Airy boys golf team.