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Comets advance to state for second straight year

South Boston News
The Comet golf team with its regional trophy. / October 05, 2017
Halifax County High School golf is returning to the state tournament for a second consecutive year.

The Comets won Tuesday’s 5D regional and advanced to the Virginia High School league class 5 state tournament in Richmond next week.

Halifax, which finished third in the state a year ago, will be one of four squads battling for the state title next week.

The Comets fired a 327 and emerged as the lone state tournament contender from a four-team group in golf action in Northern Virginia.

Albemarle was second, but missed advancing in the postseason. Mountain View and Massaponax also competed, but failed to advance.

Willoughby Gasperini and Kassidy Irby tied for second place in the individual action and carded rounds of 78. Both earned all-regional honors.

The Comets also got very solid play out of their no. 3 and 4 golfers. Lance Chappell shot 85 and Will Abdi had an 86.

“Back in the state,” said an elated Comet coach David Graham, assisted by David Day.

The Comets will play at Magnolia Green Golf Course in Moseley. Halifax will play a practice round Sunday, and then compete for the state title Monday and Tuesday.

Halifax has never won the state in golf.

“Very excited. They worked hard for this and they performed very well,” said Graham of Tuesday’s sprint to another state appearance.

Graham said the Comet golfers helped each other, working as a team, and there’s a real positive vibe about a return to the state.

Halifax has had some inconsistent play at times this season, but the Comets turned it on the last two weeks.

Gasperini and Irby have been the team leaders all season. Chappell and Abdi also have been the third and four golfers.

Abdi has shown considerable improvement, Graham said. He is a solid four man. While he didn’t have a great nine holes on the front, he rallied and came back on the back nine and closed out with a solid round.

Only one team advanced, as Halifax shaded its main threat, Albemarle.

The Patriots defeated Halifax last week in a sub-regional qualifier by one stroke. The Comets were the stronger team Tuesday.

AHS had a team score of 334.

Graham said Tuesday night he’s not sure who will join the Comets in Richmond.

Graham admitted at times he has had some doubt as to whether this team would return to the state.

“We have plenty of talent. It was a matter of putting it together. In the sub-regional, we played a really good round at 323,” said Graham.

“We talked about giving away shots at the end. This time, instead of giving away shots at the end, we saved a bunch of shots at the end. We finished very well at the end,” said Graham.

The biggest difference came when Halifax was able to avoid losing shots down the stretch - in the closing holes - as was the case in the sub-regionals, Graham said.

Graham also said Halifax played on some tough, competitive courses during the regular season. That gave the Comets more confidence and the ability to get used to different courses.

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