Rain or shine, there was going to be nothing to stop Glynn Academy from winning a pair of state championships Tuesday at Jekyll Island Golf Club.
The Glynn boys and girls teams both held onto their spot atop their respective leaderboards to sweep the GHSA golf championships for the first time since 2011 in wire-to-wire fashion.
Each Terrors team took large leads on Day 1 of the tournament, and with more inclement weather due for Day 2, there was a chance Glynn could have been crowned champions after 18 holes if the second round could not be played.
Despite a wet morning, the weather cleared up enough to complete all 36 holes, making Glynn’s wins all the sweeter.
“I wouldn’t have minded it, but, oh my gosh,” said boys head coach Mike Zito. “Our goal was to shoot under 300. We thought if we could shoot under 300, it would be a lock, and we did it. It’s just unbelievable. I’ve coached at Glynn Academy for, this is my ninth year, maybe my 10th, and it hurts every year because of the talent we have in this community.
“But I couldn’t have done any of this without Tim Hall, our parents, who are the best support staff that I have — they step up all the time — and all the golf courses that allow us to play: Brunswick Country Club, Sea Island, Jekyll. Then we have support from people like Sports 5 that help us out with clothing, and balls, and all that kind of stuff. It really took everybody to pull this thing together, and I’m over the top.”
Glynn Academy’s boys shot 591 to win the program’s first state championship outright since 2011, edging out Gainesville, which put forth a charge down the stretch to shoot 596.
Not that any of the Terrors were aware. Zito wouldn’t look at the GHSA scoring app all day, instructing his players to simply take it one shot at a time and they would add them all up at the end.
“I didn’t really know how we were standing towards the end,” said senior Williamson Mosher. “I heard it got kind of close, but I just tried to finish off the best I could.”
Mosher did just that — building off his first round 69 to shoot 72 in the second round and finish as the state’s low medalist at 141 for the tournament.
Entering the day a stroke ahead of South Paulding Brant Carman, Mosher bogeyed hole No. 1 on the Pine Lakes Course, but he’d recover with birdies on Nos. 4 and 6 before bogeying again on No. 9 to make the turn at even par.
After teeing off at 8 a.m., Carman birdied his first hole to briefly pull even with Mosher, who had a later tee time, but he’d go on to tally three straight bogeys on Nos. 3-5 and another on No. 9 to fall out of contention.
“Just kind of taking it slow, not getting ahead of myself,” Mosher said describing his mindset for the day. “If I got into trouble, I made sure to play smart and get out, and just take it one shot at a time.”
Junior Hank Holcomb finished tied for fourth with a two-day score of 147, senior Shep Davenport was 15th at 151, and senior Ellis Long rounded out the scoring at 158, which was good for a tie for 34th. Senior Grady Sanders also gutted through to a 159 to cap his prep career just three months after breaking his femur in a car accident.
It was a complete team performance for a Glynn boys team that finally put it all together at the perfect time.
“I’ve had some really good teams in the past, and we just have not played to the level that we are capable of,” Zito said. “I’ve got to tell you, this group here today, they stepped up big time. This is what they were capable of all year, as I said before, and they pulled it off. I’m ecstatic.”
For the Glynn Academy girls, winning their second consecutive state title felt like a mere formality despite also seeing one of its top players suffer an injury the week before the tournament.
Glynn shot 480 over 36 holes to beat out second-place Alpharetta by 16 strokes after entering the day with a five-stroke advantage.
“They just fought through a lot of adversity, and that’s what I’m proud about,” said girls head coach Kip Hall. “(Chanley Box) playing with literally a broken hand, the ligaments were severely strained. Every time she swung, it hurt. And that just shows what type of character she has. She loves the team concept. It’s going to be fun to watch her in college to see what she does.”
Box paced the Terrors over the finish line a year ago with a fourth-place finish individually, but her injury prevented her from challenging for the top spot in the first round, where she shot an 86. However, the senior turned it around in the second round to shoot 78 and finish in a tie for sixth with teammate Elyse Burney at 164.
A sophomore, Burney shot a 79 on Day 1, but she struggled a bit down the stretch of Day 2 with six consecutive bogeys to close out the tournament.
Instead, Glynn Academy was led by sophomore Emma Hill, who improved upon her opening-round 79 to shoot a 73 in the final round and challenge for low medalist.
Hill birdied her first two holes on the Indian Mound Course, and made the turn at 1 under. After bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11, she shot par the rest of the way. It took a 25-foot birdie putt from on No. 18 from Alpharetta’s Mahima Vurupatur to deny Hill a share of the low medalist award.
“I’m so proud of my two young guys, the sophomores,” Hall said. “Emma Hill, that was outstanding. For a 10th-grader to come in and do that the last two years is unbelievable. Last year our ninth-grader Elyse, she was a ninth-grader last year, she shot a 77, and that propelled us to get our state championship…
“This year, Chanley is hurt, and we didn’t know if she was going to make it through one round, let alone two, and you have Emma come in and get their backs. That’s just outstanding. I’m so proud to be their coach, and I’m so proud of them.”
Senior Charley Podlesny shot a 198 for Glynn Academy to close out her high school career as a back-to-back state champion.
And don’t count out a three-peat for the Terrors’ girls, which developed into a championship culture over the past two years.
“They hold each other accountable, they work hard, they work on their own,” Hall said. “We kind of work harder than a lot of school — don’t tell them that. A lot of schools only practice maybe twice a week or three times a week, but we practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday…
“But the first thing we emphasize is school comes first. Getting up to the championship we had an AP test, an end of course test, finals. There were days where I told them, ‘Go take care of business.’ They needed to study. They all carry a heavy load. They are the perfect example of a student athlete: they excel at the sports, the excel in the classroom, and they excel in their character.”