Park Claims 2nd Straight Regional

Brooke’s Bilby just misses the cut

Photo by Cody Tomer Wheeling Park’s Ryan Payne takes a shot out of a flower bed at the Williams Golf and Country Club in Weirton on Monday during the W. Va. Class AAA Regional Tournament. Payne finished tied for the lead.

WEIRTON–Suspense, heartbreak and jubilation.

All of those emotions were felt towards the end of a rainy West Virginia Class AAA High School Golf Regional Tournament at the Williams Golf and Country Club on Monday.

When the smoke settled and the scores were all accounted for, it was Wheeling Park earning its second consecutive regional title and another trip to the state tournament.

The Patriots rolled to victory with a team card of 243, led by senior Ryan Payne who turned in an impressive score of 80.

Teammate Noah Seivertson garnered an 81 and Dorothy Romanek made the triumph complete with a solid score of 82.

“I’m proud of the kids and they all played really well (Monday),” Park coach Don Headley said. “From top to bottom they did a really nice job. I feel sorry for them to play in all of that rain but that’s just how it works.

“I’m tickled to death for the guys and Dorothy. We won the OVAC and the TRAC and we’re happy to accomplish all of those goals to get to this point.

“The regional was definitely one goal that we wanted, so we could play with the best kids next week.”

Earning runner-up honors was Morgantown with a mark of 259.

The drama unfolded late when Brooke standout Ryan Bilby finished with an 81 after not shooting over a 76 all season.

The sophomore just missed a spot in the state tournament as the two individual spots went to Preston’s Luke Livengood and Caleb Osborne, who each signed cards of 80.

“81 under the conditions was a good score,” Brooke coach Ron Ujcich said. “He was one off where he needed to be. It (stinks) that that’s the only round he has shot over 76 all year and his season average was plus-1.

“He’s had probably six rounds under par this year and to come out (Monday) and have that happen is a tough pill to swallow. He didn’t play bad golf but the par-3’s hurt him.

“The positive is he is just a sophomore and it’s a character builder for him.

“Watch out next year because with his determination, there is nothing going to get in his way all year. The other kids better be at the top of their game because I know what that kid is made of and he will never let this happen next year.”

Bilby struggled on holes 12 and 13 where he accounted for a quadruple bogey and a double bogey.

“The regional is a crazy day,” Headley said. “It comes down to one day, weather conditions and how you feel. My heart goes out to Ryan because he didn’t make it.

“It’s a shame that a kid who shoots par or better this whole season and he won’t get to play in the state tournament but there will be kids in the state tournament who won’t break 120. It’s an awful thing that happens but you just have to perform on this day.”

The Preston duo combined for four birdies on the back nine to earn a spot in the state tourney.

“I was very happy with the way they played,” Preston coach Ryan Cool said. “Caleb struggled a little on the front nine and shot a 43 on the front but really turned it around and played well on the back nine.

“Luke had been playing well all day and shot 40 on both sides.”

Jack Wiedebusch led the way for the Mohigans with an 83, while Jack Hudson and Carter Kline each added a pair of 88s.

“I am proud of the way our guys stayed the course in those conditions,” Morgantown coach Nate Tallman said. “We tried to prepare ourselves with the toughest schedule that we could play and it ultimately paid off (Monday).”

Payne recorded two birdies in the contest to lead the Patriots into the state championship.

“We’re going to work hard all week, get ready and play the best that we can play next Tuesday and Wednesday,” Headley said. “Wherever the chips fall, that’s what happens but we’re going to give it a heckuva shot. That’s our goal.

Despite the rain, the show went on without a hitch thanks to the Brooke Athletic Department, coach Ujcich and the Williams Country Club.

W.Va. Class A Regional Tournament

(at Mingo Bottom Golf Club)

Wheeling Central 254, Magnolia 278, St. Marys 280, Ritchie County 289, Tyler Consolidated 420, Paden City 645, Madonna DNQ

ELIZABETH–Wheeling Central made it a fourth straight trip to the state tournament with another regional title, led by Derrick Harrison’s score of 83.

All three Maroon Knights who qualified scored in the 80’s as Zach Mazur produced an 84 and J.C. Maxwell chipped in with an 87.

“The course was soaking wet but our kids hit the ball well,” Central coach Jim Mortakis said. “All of these kids except for J.C. have played for four years and they have improved every year.”

Magnolia earned it’s first trip to the state tourney in a long time after turning in a team card of 278, led by match medalist Trey Blain’s 79.

Alex Parker did his damage with a 94 and Olivia Mensore added a 105 for the Blue Eagles.

“We’ve only been playing with four kids all year,” Magnolia coach Dave Tallman said. “But those four are our best and Trey is the horse, so to speak.

“Alex didn’t have the greatest day but he grinded it out.

“This means a lot because I can’t remember the last time we qualified for state, if ever.”

Brandon Lawhon (88) of St. Mary’s qualified for the state tournament, along with Ritchie County’s Dalton Edwards (92).

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