Because so few teams shot below the required qualifying score of 300 for girls and 340 for boys, several sectionals were canceled, including the Class AAAAA girls event, which had an impact on Creekview.
The Lady Grizzlies finished second to Cambridge in the Region 7AAAAA tournament and were to compete at a sectional Augusta this week, but only 10 schools shot below the qualifying mark. As a result, the Georgia High School Association elected to forego the sectional and have all 10 compete in the state tournament.
In previous seasons, there were no sectionals and the top two teams from each of the eight regions competed in the state meet, so the field of 10 will be down from a field of 16.
Creekview coach Casey Gramling said his players were looking forward to competing in the sectional, with the hope of winning.
“The girls wanted to go to sectionals really bad because that would have been the only chance to play without Cambridge being there,” he said. “Our athletic director said that, if we won sectionals, they would get us a banner to hang in the gym.”
On the positive side, the players won’t have to miss class this week, and then again for the state tournament May 20 on Jekyll Island.
Gramling is optimistic that his team can finish in the top three in the state.
“Realistically, we could finish third,” he said. “But you never know. All three girls could go out and shoot the round of their life at state and we could win it.”
The Creekview boys won their region title and had already earned a spot in the state finals, also set for Jekyll Island.
While Class AAAAAA will still hold its sectionals, the anticipated weather has altered the schedule slightly.
The boys will tee off at 10 a.m. Monday at Brookfield County Club in Roswell. A field of 14 teams — including Region 5AAAAAA runner-up Etowah — will compete for eight spots at the state meet.
The girls sectional originally slated for Monday will now tee off at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the County Club of Roswell. There will be 13 teams competing for nine spots in the state meet.
Woodstock girls coach Derek Engram said the change will only improve his team’s chances, as the course conditions should be better.
“You just have to get top nine to move on,” he said. “I know that we can do that. I don’t think we are competing to win the sectional, but we should make it to state.”
Because teams aren’t seeded at state, there is no advantage to winning the sectional over finishing ninth.
“We’re not competing against the other teams. We are competing against the course,” he said.
Engram likes his team’s chances. Woodstock has never qualified for the state championship as a team, although individual players have.
“The course is more wide open than Cobblestone,” Engram said, comparing the Roswell course to the site of the Region 5AAAAAA girls tournament. “Getting through Cobblestone without getting into too much trouble is an accomplishment. I don’t know what the other courses were like throughout the state, but I think that it will be a positive for us that this course is wide-open.”
Etowah, the Region 5AAAAAA runner-up, will also compete in the sectional.