Creekview leads local contingent in state golf championships
Coming off the Area 4AAAAAA team title, Brady Keran and his Creekview teammates will vie for the Class AAAAAA state championship this week in Gainesville.
Championships will be up for grabs this week as the state golf tournament takes place Monday and Tuesday.
Led by the Area 4AAAAAA champion Creekview boys, Cherokee County has a strong group competing, with six teams and two individuals.
The Grizzlies enter the Class AAAAAA state tournament at Gainesville’s Chattahoochee Golf Club red-hot after setting a program record to win the county championship and going even lower to win at the area tournament by 14 strokes.
“Coming into the season, the goal is always to make the state tournament,” Creekview coach Jimmy Thigpen said. “Now that we’re here, it’s hard not to think we can do well. We’ve won eight of our nine tournaments this season. I have a lot of faith in my guys, so I think it’s hard to bet against them at this point.”
Brady Keran will lead Creekview after placing third as an individual last season, but he is far from the only golfer poised for a strong showing.
At the area meet, all six Creekview golfers shot under 80, with Walker Winslette, Brady Thomas and Jack Vajda joining Keran as the four golfers who contributed to the team score.
“Top to bottom, we have a lot of faith in all of our guys,” Thigpen said. “I was looking at it the other day and all 13 of guys are averaging a 78.8 (or better). It’s great to have that depth. If someone doesn’t have their best day, we know we have plenty of other guys who can pick up the slack.”
The Grizzlies will be joined in Gainesville by Sequoyah, who took the final qualifying spot from the Area 4AAAAAA tournament after finishing fifth.
The Chiefs do not have the same expectations as Sequoyah, but Hunter Clay and Thomas Brumbeloe are both set to contend as individuals.
“Our goal was to qualify, and we snuck in,” coach Jon Heath said. “We know we’re probably not quite ready to contend at the top, but I think a top-10 finish is realistic. We have a lot of young guys, so we want them to soak it all up and be ready to make it the expectation.”
The Class AAAAAA girls tournament will also take place in Gainesville, at Chicopee Golf Club, and Creekview has a chance to contend.
Led by Peyton Rich and Anna Frazer, the Lady Grizzlies finished third in the area tournament after winning the county championship. Sequoyah’s Erin Peterson will compete as an individual after shooting an 81 at the area tournament, just two strokes off the lead.
In the Class AAAAAAA boys championship at Chateau Elan’s Legends Course in Braselton, Etowah is among the favorites after finishing just one stroke back of Milton at the Area 3AAAAAAA championship.
The Eagles have an experienced lineup, with Ryan Hines, Caleb Jensen and Caleb Greiner all returning with state championship experience.
Woodstock, which got into the state tournament on an at-large bid, does not bring the same experience, but after shooting 309 to finish sixth in a competitive area, coach Kelly Burke said her team is ready to play even better.
“That was a good score,” Burke said. “It would have been good for second or third in a few other areas. I think we all played well, but a few of the guys came off thinking they could have dropped two or three more shots. If we can get rid of those wasted shots, I think we can do some good things.”
The Wolverines will be led by Garron Terrell, who shot under par at area, and freshman Ben Fey.
Lexi Dawson will represent Etowah as an individual in the Class AAAAAAA girls championship at Chateau Elan’s Woodlands course after finishing fourth in the area with a 76.
Woodstock, which qualified as a team after finishing fifth in the area, will look toward Abby Bolt and Ellie Skeen to build off their past state championship experiences.