Garaway denied trip to state by narrowest of margins

Garaway denied trip to state by narrowest of margins

Image Credit: Dave Mast

Coming into the Div. II East District golf tournament at Eagle Sticks Golf Course in Zanesville on Tuesday, Oct. 5, there were four teams that were believed to have a shot at grabbing the two state tournament qualifying spots.

The day played out exactly like a suspense story, with Carrollton, John Glenn, Garaway and St. Clairsville going putt-for-putt right down to the wire.

When the final putt trickled in on the 18th hole, it would be Carrollton winning with a score of 312, followed by John Glenn at 316. Just one stroke back sat the Pirates, who saw their hopes of this young team unexpectedly working its way to a state berth vanish.

Senior Charles Beachy played his consistent game and fired a 74, a score good enough to advance him to state as an individual.

“Charles was Charles,” Garaway head coach Mikayla Johnson said. “He is just so consistent and never gets flustered.”

The youngsters played solid golf too. Freshman Trace Gibson fired a 79 while sophomore Carter Miller and junior Caleb Meek shot 86 and 85, respectively. In his final performance, senior Emmet Royer saved one of his best rounds for last, firing off a 79, which almost lifted his team to state.

“We knew what kind of score we had to post, and we went into this thinking that was a number we could shoot and move on,” Johnson said. “We really felt like that score would get us there, but we didn’t know it was going to be a heartbreaking number.”

Had the Pirates carved just one stroke off their score, it would have gone to a tiebreaker, where Johnson said sometimes Carter Miller’s fifth-man score of 86 would have sent the Pirates on to state. Instead, it was one of those scenarios where each golfer can think about one shot they could have gotten.

Johnson told her team not to dwell on any particular shot or beat themselves up over the one shot that got away because they can’t change it. She said every team can look at shots they left on the course.

“Sometimes I think it’s easier to just get beat by 20 than to get beat by one shot,” Johnson said. “But the boys played their hearts out and almost pulled off something that very few people saw a team this young and inexperienced to do this year. I am so proud of them for the way they played this season, and I was really proud of how they faced adversity and challenges this season. They proved a lot of people wrong this year.”

As a senior in his final match, Royer stepped up and delivered a fantastic score of 79, and Johnson said he responded with poise when it came to the challenge.

“He just kept talking about how he wanted to play well for the team, and he did,” Johnson said. “He did what he needed to do.”

At the end of the day, 317 was a shot away from a state berth, but for this Pirates team, that close miss doesn’t define their season, a season their head coach said they can all look back on with a smile, knowing they had a great season.