Class AAAAA boys team leaderboard
1. Columbus: 282
2. Lakeside, Evans: 296
3. Cambridge: 298
4. Starr's Mill: 299
5. Greenbrier: 300
6. Northgate: 304
7. Evans: 308
8. Dalton: 305
T9. Gainesville: 307
T9: McIntosh: 307
11. Camden County: 313
T12: Creekview: 319
T12: Dunwoody: 319
T14: Allatoona: 328
T14: Harris County: 328
16: Ola: 335
Spencer Ralston already experienced his ‘this is it’ moment a few days ago during his final school day at Gainesville High, so Monday was all about business.
Ralston, a University of Georgia signee, ended his excellent high school career with the Red Elephants boys golf team with a 1-under 71 performance in the Class AAAAA state championships Monday afternoon at the Bartram Trail Golf Club in Evans.
“It was all about the golf,” said Ralston, who won three Hall County championship titles and was a part of the 2013 state title-winning team. “It already sunk in (that I was leaving) on Friday, when we had just got off school, that I wouldn’t be coming back.”
Flowery Branch’s Macie Hurst (77) finished in fifth place at the Class AAAAA girls state golf championship at West Lake Country Club on Monday in Augusta. Hurst finished two strokes behind the low medalist, who shot a 75.
The Red Elephants finished tied with McIntosh (307) for ninth place, while Columbus High (282) earned the team title.
Columbus High standout Nolan Miller was the low medalist of the day, shooting a 6-under 66 to lead the Blue Devils.
Gainesville also saw performances from Ryan Hogan (75), Davis Weaver (78) and Drew Lasseter (83) in the team’s attempt to secure an eighth state team title in program history.
Ralston began the day on a hot pace, going 3-under after eight holes, but suffered three penalty shots that pegged his score back. He finished his final few holes on par, including a tricky up and down on the par-5 18th hole that he did well to place on the green and finish up for the final stroke of his high school career.
Gainesville coach Bryson Worley said he and the team will miss Ralston, who’s been a star for the Red Elephants for all four years. The graduating senior progressed to a 36-hole US Open sectional last summer, which put him one good round away from an appearance at Chambers Bay in Washington state.
Worley said Ralston was the best golfer he’s ever coached.
“It hit me at (hole No.) 17, this will be the last time I’ve been with him since he was 8, 9, 10 years old,” said Worley. “He’s like an assistant coach to the guys on this team. Whether it’s the mental game, ‘Hit this shot or try this,’ or whether it’s physical work to help a guy out, he always does it. When you’ve got a top player like that, it feeds back down to the others.”
Hogan, a sophomore, said he considered Ralston a role model who always kept the atmosphere light, whether in tournaments or in down-time.
“He did a really good job of keeping us all together,” said Hogan, who finished his final eight holes at 2-under after a 5 over start. “I’ll probably remember him most as a great leader.”
The Gainesville High girls golf team finished in tenth place with a team total of 278 at the Class AAAAA girls state golf championship at West Lake Country Club on Monday in Augusta.
Senior Ashleigh Bishop led the team with a 10-over par 82. Junior Arianna Lunsford and freshman Vivian Robinson both shot 98, while senior Julianna Towns shot a 102.
Dalton High won the state championship with a team total of 241, while Columbus High finished in second place with a team total of 247.
CLASS AAAA: Bartley Forrester shot a team-low 74 to lead North Hall High (331) to a strong finish Monday afternoon at the Class AAAA state golf tournament at Jones Creek Golf Course in Evans.
Meanwhile, Michael Kallab had an 80, Michael Page shot an 87, Brennan Manson and Cord Sanford both shot 90 and C.J. Chester shot a 93 for the Trojans.
Buford’s Shyam Joshi led the Wolves with an 82, Chandler Martin carded an 83 and Ethan Sutherland shot an 84. Buford had a team total of 335.
Class AAAAA boys team leaderboard
1. Columbus 282
2. Lakeside, Evans 296
3. Cambridge 298
4. Starr’s Mill 299
5. Greenbrier 300
6. Northgate 304
7. Evans 308
8. Dalton 305
T9. Gainesville 307
T9. McIntosh 307
11. Camden County 313
T12. Creekview 319
T12. Dunwoody 319
T14. Allatoona 328
T14. Harris County 328
16. Ola 335