BIG STONE GAP — Union High School won the first state title in school history Tuesday at the VHSL Class 2 golf championship at Lonesome Pine Country Club.

Union, which featured an all-senior cast, posted a team score of 303 on its home course. Wilson Memorial (326), Poquoson (327) and Appomattox (328) rounded out the top four.

Three Rivers District champion Radford, which featured just one senior and two juniors, finished sixth in the team standings with a round of 336.

“It was disappointing,” said Radford coach Cody Roberts, a native of Wise, Virginia who played golf at now defunct J.J. Kelly High School. “We felt like we could have played a lot better, but we also could have played a lot worse.”

According to Roberts, the last time Radford competed in the state tournament was 2007.

“This was a big day for our program, and we’re only going to get better,” Roberts said.

One other Timesland golfer competed as an individual. Logan Douthat of Giles shot an 81 to tie for 16th.

For Union senior Wes Slagle, the tournament had special meaning.

On Dec. 22, the basketball standout suffered an ACL tear and partially torn meniscus in his left knee.

Following surgery on Jan. 23, Slagle began an arduous rehabilitation process.

“I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that when you are going through a tough time like that,” Slagle said. “It was hard.”

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Slagle adjusted his golf game as a result, but his round of 77 helped push the Bears to the big trophy Tuesday.

“It’s been a long road back and I lost confidence in my game, but I’m grateful to have this opportunity,” Slagle said. “There’s no better feeling than winning state.”

The race for the medalist honor came down to a one-hole playoff after Union senior Austin Schlobohm and Chatham sophomore Matt Arnold both shot 73.

Schlobohm finished his round nearly three hours before Arnold’s group came in, so he had to wait in suspense.

The playoff unfolded on Hole No. 1. Schlobohm was forced to take a penalty stroke after his tee shot hit a tree, with the ball finally landing in a hazard area near a bridge.

With the entire Union team watching, Arnold took a cautious approach and won with a bogey on a course located four and a half hours from his home.

“I didn’t want to go crazy and mess up since [Schlobohm] the penalty, so I just hit the front of the green,” said Arnold, whose brother played Drew played on the golf team at Hampden-Sydney. “I love pressure. That’s when good players come through.”

Before Sunday’s practice round, Arnold had never seen the scenic LPCC layout.

“I knew that I had a chance to do it,” Arnold said. “I stuck to the game plan and executed pretty well.”

It was a still a day to remember for Schlobohm, who fired his career-best score.

“I knew that if I could put up a good score that the rest of the team was going to have my back,” Schlobohm said.

Schlolobohm said his scores were in the 130 range as a freshman. He was the No. 4 player as the Bears finished third in the Class 2 tournament last year

“I’ve come a long way by practicing every day on this course.” Schlobohm said. “We talked about winning state for two years, so we put in the work. The day after last year’s state tournament, we were out here on the course.”

So how did Schlobohm find the nerves to boost his best score in his biggest tournament of his life?

“From the fairway on, I just hit all my shots,” he said.

In addition to Schlobohm, the senior cast for Union included Region 2D medalist Evan Blanton (74), Slagle and Cole Stanley 79.

Union High School, a consolidation of Big Stone Gap and Appalachian High School, opened in 2011.

“Things went according to plan today,” Union coach Jarred Chandler said. “Everybody was nervous. But I felt like we could settle in if we could get through five holes and know what we had to do. That’s what happened.”


- Advertisement -
Previous articleNew Fitness Program Partners With High School Facilities | News
Next articleNHL roundup: Streaking Hurricanes trip Canucks