The 2013-14 prep sports area season comes to an end with one last hurrah Monday as both the boys and girls golf squads from Statesboro High will compete in the Class AAAA state championships.
Statesboro’s boys will tee off at the Westlake Country Club in Martinez while the Lady Blue Devils will compete just down the road at the Waynesboro Country Club.
“I’m very proud of both of our teams,” SHS coach Sam Rogers. “Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment for our girls to make it to this level after we didn’t field a girls team last season. And even though the boys are returning to state with a lot of the same guys, this has been a much different season and they’ve had to work very hard to get to this point.”
Statesboro’s girls got in a final practice Saturday morning before both squads headed up to Augusta for a year-end banquet. The boys will have a final practice session tomorrow ahead of the state championships.
Monday’s finals have been the ultimate goal for both teams — as easily evidenced by a grueling schedule.
In addition to regularly facing tough competition from other teams in the region, Statesboro searched out tournaments at challenging courses that featured top-notch competition. The Devils even brought some of that competition into their own backyard, hosting well-received tournaments at both Forest Heights Country Club and the Georgia Southern University Golf Course.
As play gets underway Monday, Statesboro likely won’t be on the minds of many outsiders.
Despite repeated solid showings at region and sectional events from year to year, a select group of schools tend to dominate the statewide competition from year to year.
The Devils acknowledge that they won’t be head-turners when they tee it up, but are comfortable with the role they can play.
“We know that there are other teams out there who figure to be the favorites,” Rogers said. “What drives us is that we’ve played with a lot of those teams throughout the season. On our best days, we know that we can play with them.
“Sure, it would be a huge surprise for the boys or girls to win it all, but that doesn’t mean we don’t expect to compete. Our boys and our girls both want to leave an impression on other schools that Statesboro is an up and coming program and that everyone needs to know who we are.”
The toughest part of Monday’s championships for Rogers is that he’ll only be able to watch half of his players.
With the two teams teeing off at similar times and separated by nearly 50 miles, Rogers has made the tough call to stick with the boys squad while assistants Clark Bowers and Kenny Anderson walk along with the Lady Devils.
“I really wish that I could be there for everyone,” Rogers said. “But I know our girls will do fine and (Bowers and Anderson) will be able to help in any way they can.”
The Lady Devils will be led by senior Sarah Jane Bowers, who will team with Briana Jones and Emily Olsson. All three will combine their 18-hole scores to make up Statesboro’s team total.
On the boy’s side, Clay Cribbs, Trevor Dailey, T.J. Costlow, Hunter Finch, and Jordan Woody will all hit the links. Of the five, the lowest four scores will form the Devils’ final team total.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.