WU’s McCarty returning as individual qualifier –
By Mark Carpenter –
Photo by Peggy Shumaker –
One final battle. One final contest between the two top boys golf teams in Adams County, this time with a whole lot at stake, a possible return trip for either of them to the OHSAA state tournament. Since their first meeting back in August the North Adams Green Devils, under the guidance of Coach Ammon Mitchell, and the West Union Dragons, under the direction of Coach Carl Schneider, have had their sights set on Monday, Oct. 2.
Monday was the date of the Southeast District Division III District Golf Tournament at the Portsmouth Elks Golf Course and after the Devils had topped the Dragons in last week’s sectional play, the two teams were in the mix at districts for one berth available in the state tournament, different from last season where two teams advanced out of the districts and those two were North Adams and West Union.
On Monday, the match up lived up to the billing, coming down to the final holes before a winner was decided and behind some strong play on the back nine that made up a three-stroke deficit, it was the Green Devils earning the district title and making their third trip to the state tournament in school history and their second consecutive trip. There will also be another representative at the state from the county, as West Union senior Elijah McCarty was the top individual finisher at the district, earning him a spot on the Ohio State Course next week.
“It is a shame that Ohio decided to let just one team from our district go to state this year,” an exhausted Coach Mitchell told The Defender. “West Union is a state-quality team. My boys need to receive all the credit for our win. They want to practice as much and as long as they can every day and their work ethic is amazing. I just stay with them and try to calm them down if they get upset. It’s a blessing to be around such great-mannered athletes who love their sport. When AD Tony Williams asked me to coach this team two years ago, well, I can’t thank him enough for what he gave me and I can’t thank these boys enough for what they gave me. They will always have a special place in my heart for all of them.”
As far as the play in the district tournament went, the Dragons led after the first nine holes at 165, with Crooksville one stroke back, the Devils two behind at 167, and Dawson-Bryant in fourth at 168, so the state berth was still very much up for grabs. Using some solid play on the back nine from the entire roster, the Devils rallied back and turned that front nine deficit into a four-stroke win over the Dragons, 328-332.
“I can’t believe how we came back on the back nine,” said Coach Mitchell. “I was so proud of the rally my boys put on, truly a team effort. Carson Hall was consistent with a 46 on the front and 45 on the back, and I was really happy with Uriah Hall who shot a 49 on the front and then improved 10 strokes on the back to catch up with West Union’s Carson McFarland.”
“My three man, Colt Shumaker, was great all day and he shot a 79 to tie Crooksville’s three and beat West Union’s. Noah Lung was solid with an 82 and Bryant Lung played as our one today and though he lost overall to McCarty, he topped Crooksville’s number ne by seven strokes.”
“To finish first at sectionals and districts and to again compete at the state level is such an accomplishment in any sport,” continued Mitchell. “To go back to state two years in a row is a dream come true. No team in North Adams history has made back-to-back state appearances so we may have the best team in North Adams history. Last year we went to state for the experience and to have fun, this year my boys know they are talented know how it feels to handle pressure, and believe they can win a state title. We start practicing on Tuesday and I promise that we will work harder than any team in the state of Ohio.”
West Union’s McCarty can claim the title of individual district champion, shooting a 72, two strokes better than Western’s Broc Jordan. That was the perfect place to be as only one individual not on the winning team moved to state and the West Union senior claimed that berth.
“It feels wonderful to be going back to state again,” said the Dragons’ senior. “Today my 3 wood was the big factor on why I shot so well. I couldn’t seem to hit the fairway with my driver so I had to use my 3 wood off the tee. My short game was on target today too”
“My main goal at state is to keep my score in the 70’s both days. I am kind of familiar with the course which could be a big advantage for me.”
Two other Adams County schools were represented at the district tourney, with Peebles senior Bostin Robinson shooting an 80, while Manchester’s Dylan Colvin and Logan Hayslip shot 87 and 88 respectively.
District Team Scores: North Adams 328, West Union 332, Crooksville 339, Dawson-Bryant 341, Waterford 352, Racine Southern 353, Western Latham 357, Reedsville Eastern 362, Whiteoak 404, Lynchburg 413
North Adams Scores: B. Lung 79, C. Shumaker 79, N. Lung 82, U.Hall 88, C. Hall 91
West Union Scores: E. McCarty 72, J. Pell 85, A. Sapp 87, C. McFarland 88, E. Fuller 92