501 teams fare well in state golf tournaments

by Donna Lampkin Stephens

Conway won a pair of titles in the recent Arkansas state high school golf tournaments, but several other teams from the 501 also fared well.

Janet Taylor’s Wampus Cats and Lady Cats swept the Class 7A tournaments, dominating runner-up Fayetteville by 31 strokes in the boys tournament at Centennial Valley in Conway and by 38 strokes in the girls tournament at Conway Country Club.

It was the Lady Cats’ first state championship.

Summar Roachell, the most decorated high school golfer in the state, added another individual state title to her resume as she prepares to head off to the University of Arkansas in the fall. She was also all-conference, all-state and medalist in the 7A-Central conference tournament.

Parker Rice won the Class 7A boys title and was also all-conference, all-state and 7A-Central medalist. Carson Roberts was all-conference, all-state, conference and state runner-up.

All three Conway golfers qualified for the Arkansas High School Overall championships, which were held Oct. 11 at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock and brought together the top three individual finishers in each state tournament.

“What an awesome display of golf our teams displayed over the past few weeks,” said Taylor, who within days coached teams to her sixth and seventh state championships. “It was certainly a total team effort from not only the five in the lineup each day but also from the other team members, to the entire school and community who rallied behind us.”

Taylor also coached Wampus Cat state golf championships in 2002, ’08 and ’11 along with state titles in girls basketball in 2008 and volleyball in 1998.

The Lady Cats also won the 7A-Central title. Alexis McDaniel earned all-conference and all-state honors; Logan Tolliver and Tristan Jenkins were also named all-conference.

The Wampus Cats, too, were conference champions. Besides Rice and Roberts, Chase Netherton and Tanner Bezet earned all-conference and all-state honors.

Conway has quite the golf tradition. The Lady Cats won previous conference titles in 2001, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10 and ’11 and finished state runner-up in 2009, ’10 and ’11. The Wampus Cats were also conference champions in 1980, ’81, ’82, ’96, 2001, ’02, ’03 (fall and spring), ’07 and ’11; state runners-up in 1995, ’98, 2003 and ’06 and state champions in 1978, ’82, 2002, ’08 and ’11.

St. Joseph High School won its fifth state boys title when the Bulldogs escaped Conway Christian by three strokes in the Class 2A State Tournament at Chamberlyne Golf Club in Danville.

“The boys were very excited,” St. Joe coach Chris Kordsmeier said. “The match was so close. Last year we lost by four shots, so they wanted to do really well this year. Waiting around for the scores to be posted was the hard part.”

St. Joseph scores included Landon Enderlin, second with 76; Sam Massery, 86 (both those were named all-state); Jackson Castleberry, 90; and Landon Bruich, 95.

“I believe the competition within our own team really helped our path to the championship,” Kordsmeier said. “We have eight on the team, and they always pushed each other to get better throughout the season. The boys did very well in representing our school and community. I am very proud of them.”

The runner-up finish was the highest ever for a Conway Christian boys team. Senior Jarrett Bowden shot 83, followed by classmates Shane Starkey at 84 and Brandon Helms with 88. Bowden and Starkey made the all-state team.

Led by senior Landon Hearnes’ medalist finish, Central Arkansas Christian won the Class 4A state title, beating Valley View by 12 strokes at Maumelle Country Club.

Hearnes won his first individual state title and the Mustangs’ first team title of his CAC career.

“We were just trying to win state before we graduated,” he said. “I knew we had a good chance this year. All the other guys didn’t play as well as they’d hoped, but it didn’t matter.”

Other CAC scores were Michael Foster, fourth with 78; Peyton Herald, seventh with 81; and Jake Wanner, ninth with 82. All four earned all-state honors.

Other teams from the 501 finishing among the best in the state according to their classification were Bryant, third in boys and fourth in girls in Class 7A; Little Rock Catholic, seventh in Class 7A boys; Benton, third in boys and second in girls in Class 6A; Searcy, fourth in boys and girls in Class 6A; Sheridan, sixth in Class 6A boys; Hot Springs Lakeside, first in girls and second in boys in Class 5A; Greenbrier, third in Class 5A girls; Little Rock Christian, fourth in Class 5A boys; Beebe, seventh in Class 5A boys; North Pulaski, 10th in Class 5A girls; Maumelle, Malvern, Lonoke and Clinton, third, fourth, sixth and 11th, respectively, in Class 4A boys; Malvern and Heber Springs, tied for seventh in Class 4A girls; Episcopal Collegiate, Glen Rose, Harding Academy and Jessieville, first, second, third and seventh, respectively, in Class 3A boys; Fountain Lake, Jessieville and Episcopal Collegiate, fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively, in Class 3A girls; Magnet Cove and Cutter Morning Star, third and ninth, respectively, in Class 2A boys; Conway Christian, third in Class 2A girls; Bigelow, fifth in Class 2A girls; Greers Ferry Westside, Sacred Heart and Nemo Vista, second, fourth and eighth, respectively, in Class 1A boys; and Mount Vernon
Enola and Greers Ferry Westside, champion and seventh, respectively, in Class 1A girls.