By RYAN HERMAN
It’s been a while since Lincolnton’s boys golf team last played for a state championship, and Lincoln Charter has yet to enjoy the experience.
Both get to on Monday.
The Wolves finished third in the 2A West regionals to return to the 36-hole, two-day state tournament for the first time since 1997, and the Eagles finished third in the 1A West regionals to earn their first state title berth in school history earlier this week.
To qualify for the state finals, a team must finish third or better in the regionals, or be one of the top three individuals not on a qualifying team.
This year, only Lincoln Charter and Lincolnton are going, ending a run of five consecutive state title appearances by North Lincoln. The Knights finished fifth in the 3A Midwest regionals on Monday.
West Lincoln has been to the state finals once, in 2011, and East Lincoln hasn’t been since 1999.
The Eagles shot a 341 Tuesday at Linville Country Club to finish four strokes behind second place Pine Lake Prep and 11 shots behind regional champion Avery County.
Evan Crook placed second individually with a 77, and was one shot behind regional champ Chance Watson of Avery County.
Harrison Hall (86), Justin Morgan (86), Evan Brown (92), Colin Raye (93) and Nick Stoupe (109) made up Lincoln Charter’s individual scores on Tuesday.
In the 2A West regionals at Catawba Country Club, Lincolnton shot a 318 to finish one shot behind second place Shelby and nine shots behind regional champion Newton-Conover.
Eli Walker was its top individual performer. He shot a 77 to finish tied for seventh. Mac Harris (78), Will Saine (81), Henry Saine (82), Noah Keener (93) and Kevin McAbee (101) made up Lincolnton’s individual scores.
East Lincoln’s top performer was Connor Moroney, who shot an 84 to finish tied for 27th.
Alston Taylor of North Lincoln was its top performer in the regionals. Taylor’s 73 at The Club at Irish Creek was good enough for a tie for seventh.
The state championships will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, with the 1A being held at Whispering Pines Country Club. The 2A finals will be held at Longleaf Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines.
1A/2A STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS WEEKEND: The NCHSAA 1A state track and field championships will be held today at N.C. A&T University, with the 2A championships will be held on Saturday.
Lincoln Charter will be represented in the 1A championships while East Lincoln, Lincolnton and West Lincoln will have competitors in the 2A championships.
LINCOLN COUNTY WELL REPRESENTED AT NJCAA D-II REGION X TOURNAMENT: Catawba Valley Community College enters this weekend’s junior college tournament as the No. 1 seed after winning the Carolinas/Virginia Conference title, and does so with a quartet of players from Lincoln County.
Justin Norton, Danny Sullivan, Clay Hodges and Jacob Hoover have all contributed in the Buccaneers’ success. Norton, a North Lincoln graduate, is 5-0 with two complete games and a 3.70 ERA. Sullivan, an East Lincoln graduate, is batting .365 with 28 RBIs, a team-high 12 doles and had three triples. Hodges, an East Lincoln graduate, is hitting .275 with six doubles and four stolen bases and Hoover, a Lincolnton graduate, is hitting .400 with 17 RBIs, one double, a team-high six triples and has one home run.
All four played on last summer’s Lincoln County Cardinals American Legion team, which advanced to the state tournament for the first time in program history.
Catawba Valley Community College is 38-12 on the year and went 22-6 in conference play for its third straight league crown. The Buccaneers open the double-elimination tournament at 7 p.m. today at Big Rock Stadium in Morehead City against No. 8 Surry C.C.
The tournament winner qualifies for the D-II junior college world series in Enid, Okla.