APA takes second in golf state championship
From left, Arendell Parrott Academy’s Colby Tant, Matthew Richardson, Drew Greene and Jackson Crocker combined to finish second in the the NCISAA 3A state championship in golf. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
Arendell Parrott Academy ended its golf season second to one.
The Patriots’ golf team went to Greensboro’s Bryan Park for the NCISAA 3A state championships, riding a wave of momentum after defeating top-ranked Raleigh St. David’s in consecutive weeks. Unfortunately for APA, the Warriors started fast and didn’t let up on the way to a victory.
The Patriots struggled in the first round, but recovered nicely with a total score of 651, tying the team with Forsyth Country Day for state-runner up. Although the team couldn’t defeat St. David’s a third straight time, APA coach Rickie Killinger said he appreciated everything the golfers did.
“We had a target number we wanted to shoot for and overshot it by 10 strokes, but these guys continued to fight,” Killinger said. “With the weather rearing its ugly head, anything could happen, but they played well in Day 2 in conditions other teams struggled in. They showed a lot of heart and looked to get the best possible result.”
Jackson Crocker said the team made some adjustments in both play and mentality to get back toward the top of the leaderboard.
“The first day, we didn’t play as well,” Crocker said. “We were the fourth seed in the state coming in and we were in fifth place by the end of the first day. We knew we could step our games up and we never gave up. We kept a positive attitude and were able to work our way to second place.”
APA’s Matthew Richardson said the team started picking up on the course as time went on, but were hurt on the first day. The Patriots shot 331 collectively on Monday and whittled it to 320 the following day.
“We weren’t as prepared for the Greensboro course,” Richardson said. “They were very hilly compared to the flat surfaces we’ve played on most of the year. We struggled the first day, but we were able to do a little better after that.”
The Patriots will return the same core next year, with Crocker the most seasoned Patriot as a junior. Colby Tant was a sophomore, Richardson is a freshman and the fourth member of the state championship team — Drew Greene — is an eighth grader.
“We’re only going to get better,” Greene said.
Tant shared Greene’s sentiments and believes a state championship is in the team’s future.
“Maybe next year we can,” Tant said. “We’re definitely good enough and if we play well, we’ll have a chance.”
Killinger said he hopes the momentum from this year carries into 2020.
“We’ll go into the summer with a mindset of unfinished business,” Killinger said. “We’ve had a goal with this group to win the state championship, and with Jackson coming back for his senior year combined with this young group of kids determined to improve on the runner-up spot, next year should be very interesting.
“I’m proud of these guys.”