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Comets golfers come up short in tourney

The Halifax County High School team had high hopes of advancing to state competition entering Monday’s Northwest Region Golf Tournament at Prince William Country Club in Nokesville.

Unfortunately for the Comets, they came up empty.

Halifax County High School finished fifth in Monday’s tournament and failed to qualify any players for the Group AAA State Golf Tournament to be played Monday and Tuesday at Red Wing Golf Course in Virginia Beach.

“We appreciate having the opportunity to have a chance to go to the state tournament,” said Comets Head Coach David Graham, whose Comets team finished as the Western Valley District regular-season and tournament runner-up.

“If you keep knocking on the door enough, eventually the door will open.” 

This marked the fourth straight year that the Comets golf team has played its way into the Northwest Region Tournament. The Comets finished eighth in 2009, sixth in 2010, and took third place last year, one position shy of earning a berth in the state tournament.

This was the most experienced Comets team Graham has taken into Northwest Region competition, but the Comets came up short. 

“It had nothing to do with effort,” Graham said.

“Every kid played hard to the end. Everybody gave it all they had.”

Josh Irby, as he did in last week’s Western Valley District Championship Tournament, led the Comets’ effort with his round of 81. Peter Gasperini and Tyler Holt both carded a round of 82 and Joey Gasperini’s round of 83 was the final score to be counted toward the Comets’ 328 team total.

Alex Tepper’s round of 85 and Ryan Green’s round of 91 did not count.

Monday was a tough day for the Comets, who had a good practice round the day before the tournament.

“We had some good practice rounds,” Graham pointed out.

“It was just one of those times when it just wasn’t meant to be. It was a tremendous effort. It was one of those days when breaks didn’t go our way. You’ve got to have a few good breaks go your way, and we didn’t have any go our way. We hit a lot of good shots, we just didn’t get the most out of them.”

Graham said pin placements on the green were much more difficult than they were when the team played a practice round Sunday.

“It was a tough course, and the pin placements were really tough,” the Comets’ coach pointed out.

“You could make a big number at any time. The greens were really tough. You could have a three-foot putt and have to play 12 inches of break. The pins were on knobs and on sides of hills, places where it made putting difficult.”

Despite that, Graham said the team did not play badly.

“We had a good front nine,” he said.

“We didn’t have a real bad back nine, we just had a few shots too many. I really can’t put my finger on anything specific. It was just that we had a few shots too many.”

Battlefield High School won the Northwest Region Tournament for the second year in a row, scoring an eight-stroke win over runner-up Riverbend High School. Both teams will advance to next week’s state tournament.

Albemarle High School of Charlottesville finished third with a 323 total, edging Western Valley District Champion Franklin County High School for the spot by one shot.

Battlefield High School junior Thomas Fricke earned medalist honors with his two-over-par round of 72.

Only one player from the Western Valley District, Franklin County High School’s Kolton Cooper, qualified for the Group AAA State Tournament.


Team Scores

Battlefield -308

Thomas Fricke – 72

Brian Ganow – 74

Nick Kwon – 78

Khushboo Thiagaraj – 84


Riverbend – 316

Michael Mead Jr. – 74

Andrew Mueller – 77

Devin Oeters – 81

Sameer Abdel-Qader – 84


Albemarle – 323

Alex Simmons – 78

Caleb Martin – 78

Austin Yoon – 82

Jeremy Johnston – 85


Franklin County – 324

Kolton Cooper – 77

Landon Prillaman – 80

Jeremey Lester – 81

Josh Harkema – 86


Halifax County – 328

Josh Irby – 81

Peter Gasperini – 82

Tyler Holt – 82

Joey Gasperini – 83


Patriot High School – 335

Terry Smith – 78

Garrett Larson – 84

Jake Norby – 86

Kirk Dinga – 87


Woodbridge High School – 352

Adam Szwed – 76

Austin Hurlbrink – 89

Eric Gum – 90

Tyler Deen – 97


Osbourn Park High School – 363

Zachary Gehr – 89

Dominic Palumbo – 89

Daniel Westley – 90

Matthew Weinstein – 95


Top Individual Scores

Thomas Fricke – Battlefield – 72

Michael Mead Jr. – Riverbend – 74

Brian Ganow – Battlefield – 74

Adam Szwed – Woodbridge – 76

Kolton Cooper – Franklin County – 77

Andrew Mueller – Riverbend – 77


Individual State Qualifiers

Adam Szwed – Woodbridge – 76

Kolton Cooper – Franklin County – 77

Alex Simmons – Albemarle – 78

Caleb Martin – Albemarle – 78

Terry Smith – Patriot HS – 78

Chad McCann – Stonewall Jackson (Manassas) – 80