Green Hopes girls golf team was united Monday while competing in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A East regional.
Each player kept a small green stone in her pocket while playing in a field of 61 golfers at Wildwood Green Golf Club. Coach Dona Lerner said the gesture was an example of the teams togetherness.
This team has the ability to feed off each others energy like no other team Ive ever coached, said Lerner, who has coached at Green Hope since 2006. They truly believe in one another. Any time any one of them felt alone or distressed, they rubbed the stone and they realized they had four other teammates out there.
The Falcons, this years Southwest Wake Athletic Conference champions, won the regional title with a team score of 236 to qualify for next weeks state championship at Pinehurst.
No. 6. Heritage, the Cap Eights top team, finished second at 252 and Holly Springs (259) finished third to qualify. The three teams will each send their top three golfers to Pinehurst.
Green Hope will be represented by Meghan Symonds (74), Reilly Thomas (79) and Sophie Riegel (83). Symonds was the regions individual runner-up.
Green Hopes fourth and fifth players Amanda Yannoni (84) and Selena Turner (87) will also compete at states after qualifying as two of the regions next 17 low scoring golfers sent to compete as individuals.
We have a very deep team, Lerner said. On any given day, any of our players can be within a shot of each other. My expectations this year have been fulfilled. I thought that we would come out on top in our conference. I thought we would do very well here at regionals, but I didnt know if we could win it, and I expect that we will be very competitive next week.
The top individual golfer also hailed from the SWAC, as Athens Drive freshman Emilia Migliaccio led the pack, shooting 70.
I practiced really hard the last few weeks to get ready for regionals, said Migliaccio, who also won the SWAC individual title this year. I played pretty good. I was lipping out on everything, so besides that I played pretty good. I hit 16 greens, so that was very good for me. For states Im just going to keep doing the same thing, and hopefully more birdies can drop.
Rhea Bhatia (75) and Kendra Dalton (77), who qualified as individuals last year, led Heritage to its first team state championship appearance in the programs history.
The duo is extremely competitive on the course, which helps propel the team, said Heritage coach Ronnie Reitz.
Hannah Whitt (100) will round out the Heritage team in her first trip to states.
Holly Springs was led by Leigha Holt (83), Courtney Normand (84) and Natalie Petersen (93), who will represent the team at the state championship.
Our goal was to do well at regionals, and we did that, so Im proud of the girls, said Holly Springs coach Tamara Cole, adding that Holt and Norman competed as individuals at states last year. I think well have more confidence going in. Hopefully we can finish well in states and represent our conference and team well.
Other individual qualifiers were: Sandersons Savannah Gowarty (76), Enloes Lily James (77), East Chapel Hills Sarah Towne (83), Garners Nichole Ceyrolles (83), Garners Lauren Ceyrolles (84), Wake Forests Amanda Levy (86), Enloes Brianna Bulgarino (86), West Johnstons Monika Vidlickova (86), Wake Forests Madie Fingers (87), Wakefields Casey Burroughs (87), Millbrooks Christy Johnson (89), Wake Forests Samantha Bennett (90), Millbrooks Kristen Holman (91) and Apexs Madison Merritt (91).
Holman and Merritt topped Fuquay-Varinas Brittany Greene and Panther Creeks Maggie Basile, who also shot 91, in a playoff for the final spots.