The Lady Warriors came in second place in Monday’s Class AAAAA state tournament at Augusta’s West Lake Golf Club.
Anna Higgins and Meredith Gray combined to shoot 153, 11 strokes behind champion Milton. Tift County was third, trailing Cherokee by one stroke.
Higgins finished tied for third individually with a 73, while Gray (80) finished in a tie for 13th.
Etowah’s Melanie Talbott, who qualified as an individual after winning the Region 5AAAAA championship — beating Higgins in a playoff — shot 81 to finish in a tie for 15th.
The Creekview girls posted a seventh-place finish in the Class AAAA tournament at Bartram Trail Golf Club in Evans. Woodstock’s Eric Burns, an individual qualifier after winning the Region 5AAAAA title, shot 86 in the Class AAAAA boys tournament at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans.
Though Cherokee’s history-making performance didn’t result in a state title, its progress was evident. The Lady Warriors finished eight spots and 27 strokes better than they did in 2011.
“I’m pleased with the girls,” coach Robin Roper said. “We went lower than we did in region, and we did it on a longer course. As a team, we did everything we could. Milton just played better.”
Higgins made several key par putts on the front to make the turn at 36. She then made eagle on the 15th hole after placing her second shot within 8 feet on the 410-yard par-5.
“I’m proud with how I played,” said Higgins, who will be joining Gray at West Georgia next season. “We had a lot of fun, and our goal was to do better than last year.”
Gray was at her best on the front nine, birdieing the first two holes, including a wedge approach on No. 1 that landed 2 feet from the flag.
She also saved par on Nos. 8 and 9, finishing with a 38 at the turn.
Talbott, a freshman, had high hopes for her first trip to the state tournament, but a small case of nerves, coupled with a balky iron game, kept her from breaking 80 and a top-10 individual finish.
“I wasn’t really happy with the way I played,” Talbott said. “I three-putted the first hole because of nerves, and my irons were off. I was fighting my swing all day.”
She was able to make a pair of birdies during her round, which saw her shoot 41 on the front nine and 40 on the back. And now that Talbott knows what to expect, she’s primed herself for a return performance next spring.
“I definitely want to come back,” she said. “I know I will play better next time.”
The Creekview girls shot 179 in the Class AAAA tournament, one shot behind sixth-place Starr’s Mill, but 26 shots behind the champion playing in its own backyard, Lakeside-Evans (153). The Lady Grizzlies’ Region 7AAAA rival, Lambert, finished second (155) while Ware County (160) was third.
Whitney Stevenson led Creekview with an 84, which was good enough to finish 13th individually. Sam Markley shot 95.
Playing on his own after Woodstock failed to qualify for the Class AAAAA boys tournament, Burns got off to a slow start going double bogey-bogey to open his round. He couldn’t recover, leading to a 45 on his front nine.
“It’s definitely not how I wanted to start,” Burns said, “but that’s not new to me. It’s happened before, and I’ve come back, but I wasn’t able to really recover.
“Ball-striking was an issue. I didn’t have confidence in my driver, and my shots went right a lot. It was a tough course.”
Burns played better on the back nine, shooting 41.