The North Lincoln Knights men’s golf team wrapped up the spring season with a runner-up finish at the 2A state meet two weeks ago, and while the team wasn’t quite satisfied with a second-place finish, they again found themselves in familiar territory near the top of the leaderboard.
The Knights brought home state-championship titles in 2009 and 2010, but also finished in second place in 2011. Salisbury High School took the runner-up spot in both years the Knights won the crown, but for the past two years it’s been Salisbury in first place. North Lincoln finished with a score of 604 at this year’s meet, to Salisbury’s 573.
“We faced an incredible team in Salisbury,” North Lincoln head coach Mark Lackey said. “They had the best score out of any classification, 1A, 2A, 3A or 4A. I’m not disappointed that we shot 604, because we won a state championship one year and shot 608. I’m very proud of the team. Second place out of all of the 2A schools in North Carolina is pretty good.”
Several golfers for the Knights graduate this year, including Clemson signee Miller Capps, whom Lackey described as the “heart and soul” of the team, and Brandon Williams, who will be playing golf for Montreat College in the fall.
“I didn’t play to my potential at the state meet, but the second day was better than the first,” Williams said. “We go to states to win, but all in all we’ll take runner up. I want to keep improving when I get to college, and have a better work ethic on and off the course.”
But the future is also bright for the Knights. Alston Taylor, a freshman at North Lincoln, shot a 151 at the state meet as the second-highest finisher for the Knights, behind Capps.
Taylor said working with players of a high caliber like Williams and Capps shed light on what it will take for him to reach his potential during his burgeoning high school career.
“It helps my game to play with people who are better than me, because I see what I need to improve on,” he said. “I need to improve my mental game a lot. I get really frustrated. I really have to think about it before I do it, and improve on it. I’d like to see the team keep improving, and win states again.”
While Taylor has his sights on the future of North Lincoln golf, Capps is looking ahead to amateur tournaments this summer and his first round as a Clemson Tiger.
“I’m just excited and I feel like I have to get ready,” he said. “I’m playing pretty good, but you’re never satisfied with how you’re playing. There’s always something that I’m trying to work on and improve. I’m in a constant state of trying to prepare.”
Capps will participate in several amateur tournaments over the summer before moving to Clemson in August, where he is rooming with another Clemson golfer, and said he plans to watch the other players to see how they react to situations he may face as he begins his college career.
Lackey said Capps will be missed by the North Lincoln golf program, but that he was proud of his star athlete for moving onto the college level.
“You’re losing a great leader and a great player by every stretch of the imagination, and a great person as well,” he said. “But that’s what graduation means, they’re moving up the ladder. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”