LOCAL COLLEGE/PREP ROUNDUP: GSW golf misses cut for NCAA nationals; Lee County’s Gahman qualifies individually; Baconton boys fall in Final 4, girls win; Crisp County baseball reaches Elite 8

Former Lee County star Nate Gahman of GSW is headed to Hersey, Pa., for NCAA nationals later this month.

Former Lee County star Nate Gahman of GSW is headed to Hersey, Pa., for NCAA nationals later this month.

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — It’s been another great season for the Georgia Southwestern State men’s program.

But unfortunately for Hurricane fans, that season won’t continue after GSW finished three spots shy of the cut Wednesday needed to make the NCAA National Championships later this month.

After shooting a final-round score of 296 — their lowest of the three-round tournament — GSW finished tied for 10th out of 20 teams during the NCAA regionals, needing to end in the Top 7 to extend their season. The good news, however, is that former Lee County star and Herald Player of the Year Nate Gahman qualified for nationals after finishing tied for eighth overall. NCAA Nationals begin May 20 in Hershey, Pa.

Baconton boys fall in Final 4, girls win

BACONTON — If only the Baconton Charter boys tennis team had won Tuesday, Mitchell County could very well have two state champs by this weekend.

Instead, the Lady Blazers will play on and compete for the school’s first state title — in any sport — on Saturday, while the Blazers lost in the Final Four on Tuesday, 3-0, to Marion County in a match Baconton head coach Sam Cornwell called “the real state championship.”

“I really felt like our match in the Final Four was for the state title because the team Marion faces next, Irwin County, they’ve already beaten them badly, like, three times this year,” said Cornwell, who led the Blazers to a 15-4 record this season and matched the deepest run in state by the boys program. “Marion is by far the best team in the state (in Class A). They’ve got some of the best players I’ve ever seen.”

Baconton was leading both doubles matches Tuesday when the three singles matches came off the court — all Marion wins — effectively ending the Blazers’ run.

Baconton’s No. 1 singles star Cody Carden is graduating, as is No. 3 singles player Sanjay Patel, leaving just Samuel Cornwell — the coach’s son — as the only returning starter.

“We had a great, great season, and I’m really proud of how far we made it,” the coach said. “But this was our chance to make a run (at the school’s first state title in tennis). We’re losing a lot after this year.”

The Baconton girls, meanwhile, still have a chance to bring some hardware back home.

Baconton beat Telfair County’s girls Tuesday to reach the school’s first state championship match. They’ll play Saturday against Irwin County in Jonesboro.

Crisp Co. advances with Sweet 16 sweep

CORDELE — Crisp County had little trouble advancing to the Elite 8 round of the Class AAAA baseball playoffs Wednesday as the Cougars ripped Statesboro, 12-2, in six innings in Game 1 of the beat-of-three series and then won, 13-1, to sweep to the next round.

The Cougars will meet the winner of the Northwest Whitfield-Stephens County series, which starts today. That series begins Tuesday at Crisp County.