Broughton was third in last year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A boys golf championships and returns four starters to put it in position to try to win the school’s 12th championship in the sport.
East Carolina recruit Jimbo Stanley, Patrick Carlin, Will Hawley and Britt Stroud are back from last year’s lineup and freshman Peter Fountain – already committed to North Carolina – will join them. Carlin, Stanley and Hawley all tied for 20th in last year’s championships.
The Caps have three others with match experience: Connor Jones, Colby Mitchell and Smith Brewer.
But it’s Pinecrest that has won three of the last four 4A titles. The Patriots, however, return just two from last year’s state championships: A.J. Beechler (T-11th) and Drew Viney (T-17th).
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4A: Like Broughton, Green Hope is also returning four of its five starters. The Falcons were a stroke behind the Caps in fourth place at the state championships. They return Brian Chen, Jack Massei, Chris Kim and Seve Afindsen.
Panther Creek’s Viraj Garewal is the area’s top-ranked golfer by the Tarheel Youth Golf Association. He was tied for fourth in last year’s championships.
In the Cap-8 Conference, Wakefield will try to make a run at Broughton behind seniors Scott Gerald and Mason Regan and freshmen Coleson Henshaw and Jason Crews.
Heritage returns all of its starters, including all-conference players Brock Olson, Chris Craddock and Riley Hollembaek.
Leesville Road was sixth in last year’s championships and will be led by top returner Joey Pettis.
Middle Creek’s Austin Bonfiglio was tied for 20th in last year’s championships.
Apex, under new coach Bryn Shurbutt, is led by David Valcheff and Fitz Miller.
J.H. Rose, which finished 10th in 4A, returns two of its top three in Nick Loy and Parker Eason.
Harnett Central is led by senior Jacob Lowe, the top returner in the Greater Neuse River Conference.
3A: Lee County was seventh in last year’s championships. Corinth Holders (10th) and C.B. Aycock (11th) also qualified as a team.
Lee County, which has won three straight conference titles, returns Dalton Mauldin, who tied for 10th in state championships last year and was fourth as a sophomore.
Cleveland graduated its top two players but will be led by Nick Godwin, Hunter Shinn, Connor Sivers and Aaron Rowland.
2A: The top returning area 2A golfer is Farmville Central’s Alec Foster, who was tied for 41st.
1A: Franklin Academy was seventh, Rosewood eighth and Oxford Prep 11th in last year’s championships. Oxford Prep returns everyone from a year ago.
NCISAA: St. David’s Parker Gillam, a Wake Forest recruit, returns as N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A champion while North Carolina recruit Ryan Gerard, of Ravenscroft, was second in 3A.
St. David’s returns four of its top six, including all-state selection Andrew Wilmoth and all-conference juniors Will Hanna and Will Lewis, from a team that won its first state title after three straight runner-up finishes.
Ravenscroft returns all five of its starters from last year, including Kenan Poole and Chase Tickle. Highly-ranked junior Quinn Riley joins the team, transferring from Athens Drive. Gerard has won three conference player of the year awards.
Four other all-state players return: Brandon Jones (Lee Christian, 1A); Jackson Van Paris (O’Neal School, 2A); Ryan van der Poll (Grace Christian Raleigh, 2A); and Josh Bryan (Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill).