Even though as a team the Hurricanes fell short, GSW senior golfer J.P. Griffin finished second overall at the 80-team D-II regionals Wednesday to qualify for nationals next week in Kentucky --- a feat that had never been accomplished in the program's history.
LEESBURG — The Region 1-AAAA champion Lee County girls soccer team saw its season end in a heartbreaking loss to Conyers in the second round of the Class AAAA state tournament Wednesday, 2-1.
Casey Schoenberger scored Lee County’s only goal, although it came after the Lady Trojans found themselves in a 2-0 hole by halftime.
“We played them tough. We’re not going to hang our heads,” said Lee County coach Dave Baltenberger, whose program will lose three seniors, Schoenberger being one of them. “We’ve got a good group coming back. They’re one of the best we’ve had. They’re really good.”
Conyers (16-3-1, ranked No. 9 in AAAA state poll) now advances thanks to goals from Kourtney Kelley in the 20th minute and Arielle Gunderson in the 37th minute.
Lee (13-5-1) had a chance for the equalizer with 1:17 to go right in front of the Conyers goal, but the shot just missed the mark.
GRIFFIN FINISHES SECOND AT REGIONALS, QUALIFIES FOR NATIONALS:
CONOVER, N.C. - The traveling party from 19th-ranked Georgia Southwestern to the NCAA National Golf Championships in Louisville, Ky., next week might be a little smaller than hoped, but the Hurricanes will be represented in the Division II finals for the first time in school history after J.P. Griffin fired a 1-under 71 on Wednesday morning at the South/Southeast Regional to finish the three-day event tied for second with a 5-under 211.
The top five teams and the top two players not on a qualifying team advance to the finals May 15-19 at The Cardinal Club as part of the 2012 Division II Spring Championships Festival.
Griffin finished a stroke behind Matt Atkins of USC Aiken for the individual title.
Although they did not qualify as a team, GSW played outstanding golf on Day 3 at Rock Barn Golf & Spa. Southwestern turned in the second-lowest round of the tourney with a 3-under 285 and climbed nine spots in the standings to finish in 8th place.
The Hurricanes started the day 16 strokes out of fifth place and a team berth in the national finals. After posting such a solid score in the morning, there was no packing up and shoving off for Americus. The Hurricanes grabbed a bite to eat, killed an hour or two and headed back to the club to watch the afternoon scores trickle in. By days end, GSW was only five strokes out of the coveted fifth slot.
No. 16 Georgia College won the regional with a 5-over 869. Top-ranked Barry was second (870) and No. 2 Nova Southeastern (872) finished third.
GSW was led by Craig Gibson on Wednesday. The senior left it all on the course, firing a tournament-low round of 5-under 67. After opening with a bogey, Gibson birdied four-consecutive holes. On the back nine he sandwiched a bogey between two birdies before dropping another birdie on 18. Gibson climbed 55 spots in the standings over the final round to finish the 108-player event tied for 28th.
Christopher Hall ended his collegiate career with an even-par 72. His three-round 225 was good for 54th place.
Travis Oestmann carded a 75 to record the fourth team score on Day 3. His tournament ended with a birdie on 18, as well. He posted a 238 overall.
Former Lee County star and Herald Player of the Year Nate Gahman played even-par golf over the opening nine holes before finishing the day with a 76. His 229 score tied for 79th place.
The Hurricanes finished ahead of seven Top 25 teams, including No. 5 Lynn and No. 7 West Florida.
GSW was one of 80 teams participating in regional play of the NCAA Tournament.