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GOLF: Park’s Hand Wins Medalist Honors in AAA

University claims team crown

October 4, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT - Staff Writer ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - For University's Eric Wirth, it's going to take a while for this one to sink in.

Not only did the Hawks capture their first West Virginia Class AAA state golf championship, but they did so on their biggest rival's home course - Oglebay's Jones layout.

''I don't know how it happened,'' Wirth said.

Article Photos

Weirton Madonna’s Alex Colantonio watches a drive during Wednesday’s action. He finished fourth in Class A.

Wheeling Park coach Don Headley certainly did.

'''They played better than we did (Tuesday),'' Headley said, ''and they played better than we did (Wednesday). That's just it. My hat's off to them.''

Wirth shot a two-day total of 148, which tied him with Wheeling Park's Thadd Obecny II for runner-up medalist, and teammates Cale Wheeler (152) and Trent McPherson (153) also turned in all-state performances in lifting University to a six-stroke victory on the two-time defending champion Patriots.

Wheeling Park did have the Class AAA medalist for a third straight year (Obecny won it in 2010 and 2011), as Cole Hand, the only player in the field to play even par the first day, shot a second-day 74 and topped Obecny and Wirth by two strokes.

It likely would have been more, were it not for some tough pin placements on the last four holes, where Hand had three bogeys and a birdie.

''All four of those pins were just stupid hard,'' he said.

Like Tuesday, Hand got off to a hot start, as he was two under-par for his first five holes only to be had by another three-putt on No. 8, just as he did in the first round.

''It was pretty much the same thing,'' he said.

He wound up with three birdies, five bogeys, and 10 pars on the day.

''There's a lot of great players up here this year,'' Hand said.''To be able to win feels great.''

Class AA

In winning its first team title in any sport, Roane County was also the only squad to be trailing after Day 1 to rally and win a championship.

The Raiders were behind Poca by three heading into Wednesday's action but made up nine strokes and won with a 489. Leading the way was Alston Spears, who shot 156 and was the Class AA medalist. Cam Moore helped with a 163 as he, too, wound up a member of the all-state team.

First-day leader Travis Covert, of the Dots, slipped to third with an 80, while Bluefield's Evan Smith sneaked into the runner-up position with a 79 on Wednesday and a two-day total of 157.

Fairmont Senior, with two all-state members - Nick Sinclair (159) and Sterling Fitzwater (163) - finished third.

Class AA

Madonna figured it wouldn't be able to do enough to catch Charleston Catholic - and it didn't - but the Blue Dons did hold off third-place Buffalo to repeat as Class A runner-ups. The Irish won at 481, followed by 502 for Madonna and 503 for Buffalo, home of medalist Cory Hoshor (154).

The Blue Dons' Alex Colantonio shot 78 on Wednesday and finished fourth at 158, two strokes better than teammate Michael Rogers, who shaved four shots off his Tuesday score and finished fifth at 160.

First-day leader Christian Casingal shot 81 and finished as the runner-up in the class at 156.

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