WEIRTON - The Weirton Madonna High School golf team has repeated as the West Virginia Class A regional champions thanks to a seven-shot victory Monday against St. Marys at Williams Country Club.
Michael Rogers led the way with his 76, which was good enough to win the medalist honor by a shot.
"We are fortunate to have a lot of good young players and there are more coming up," said coach T.J. Brancazio, in his sixth year. "They are working at their game, and not just during golf season. They are working on their games all year long.
Tyler Consolidated’s Corey Wells, left, Bishop Donahue’s Steven Gretchen, middle, and Wheeling Central’s Thomas Stanley prepare to tee off at the 15th hole during Monday’s regional tournament at Williams Country Club.
Photo by Mike Mathison
"I think the competition level here is going to keep getting better and better. Guys are going to have to work next year to keep a position."
But, before that happens, Madonna is headed to the state tournament next week at Oglebay Park, where the squad has finished second, first and second in the past three trips to Wheeling.
"It's going to be a good state tournament," Brancazio said. "I think what we have been able to do down at the state tournament as a program, I think, has gotten a lot of attention at our school. Five years ago on Meet the Team Night we had six players. This year we had 23 and we don't have a senior.
"I also think a lot of that has to do with the junior golf program at Williams Country Club. They do an excellent job and more and more kids are picking up the game at an earlier age."
St. Marys, behind a 77 from Drew Wells, will also make the trip to Oglebay Park. Coleman Lamp shot 85 and Robbie Harper 87 for the Blue Devils.
The top two finishers not on the top two teams will also participate in the state tournament.
Tyler Consolidated's Corey Wells shot 81 and Wheeling Central's Thomas Stanley carded an 84 to earn the trip.
Wheeling Central finished third as Jonathan Haley shot 87 and Freddie Fitzsimmons 95.
Garrett Emch's 89 led Magnolia to fourth place.
Unlike the rest of the season where teams play five and score the top four, at regionals and the state tournament, four players tee it up and the top three scores are counted.
Nick Mazur and Alex Colantonio each shot 83 for the Blue Dons. Thomas Gianni had an 85.
Of course, as Brancazio pointed out, it sure doesn't hurt playing on your home course.
"It's an advantage and all the other coaches know it's an advantage for us," he said. "The coaches are also very appreciative of what Williams Country Club does for us. We appreciate the hospitality. The kids from all the schools were able to come down and play a practice round for free.
"Everyone at Williams has been very accomodating to all the schools.
"We just want to thank (head pro) Dean DiBerardino, (assistant pro) Jason Smoljanovich and the staff at Williams Country Club for everything they did for us for this tournament and how they have all supported the Madonna golf program."