The second-straight 1A state championship was far from a carbon-copy of the first for the Community School Davidson golf team.
The Spartans’ highest returning finisher from 2018, junior Christian Jarrell, couldn’t join the team on the course until mid-March while recovering from a wrist injury. And senior Cole Vahey was still on the CSD basketball team in their own playoff run four matches into the season.
“It was just an unlikely, patchwork start to the season,” CSD coach Skip West said. “‘Which six kids can I put together who can swing a golf club?’ It was a tough year, just making due with who we had available to figure it out.”
After a blustery first day at Pinehurst Country Club No. 6, CSD pulled away from East Surry on the second day, winning the title by 17 strokes May 14.
This championship came in a year when CSD didn’t even win its own conference, finishing third in the PAC 7 behind Union Academy and Pine Lake Prep. The Spartans were in a three-way tie for first in the West Regional, and was the only league team to advance to states.
Jarrell turned in the best performance for the Spartans, shooting a 76 and 75 to finish at 7-over and third overall. Senior Brendan Cole tied for 15th at 22-over; junior Alex Williams and freshman Connor Maddox tied for 24th at 28-over; and Vahey tied for 34th at 36-over.
West credits the return of Jarrell for giving the rest of the team the confidence-boost it needed to return to the top.
“The way he carries himself, the way he leads the team,” West said. “His return made us believe we could come back. … Just his spirit that he brought, and everybody started believing again. Everybody started playing pretty darn good on the second day (of states.)”
In additional to another state championship, Jarrell won the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards for the second consecutive year. Jarrell believes he was awarded each for different reasons.
“Last year I think I won based on being included and being involved with the team socially,” he said. “This year I felt like I was more of a leader on this team and made in impact in that way.”
This was the first time Jarrell had been forced to take a break from golf since he started playing at age 5. But surgery in October changed that.
“Being told I needed surgery and I couldn’t play golf for five-to-seven months was really difficult,” Jarrell said. “Once the season started, it was more difficult since I couldn’t be with my teammates from the last couple of years. I took a step back and just tried to help everybody out and tried to be a positive influence.”
Other local finishers
• Hough sophomore Ayush Bodhale finished tied for 35th in the 4A state championship at Pinehurst No. 8.
• Pine Lake Prep senior Parker Mizelle was fifth in the 1A, shooting a 10-over. Pride teammate Justin Guilford was just a few shots behind, finishing tied for seventh at 13-over.