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HCMS golf finds success

SoVaNow.com / October 12, 2017


Behind the scenes from another dramatic run to the state title round for Comet golf, there’s a supporting program that is clearly making a difference for the older players.

Halifax County Middle School golf gets an assist, too, as the Comets celebrate another VHSL state tournament Class 5 appearance.

The Lions had an excellent season. Sixth-grade student J.D. Cunningham had a remarkable moment, sinking a hole-in-one in the next-to-last Piedmont District match of the fall campaign.

Collectively, the Lions enjoyed a perfect regular season. Halifax fired a nine-hole team total of 184 at Greens Folly in its final regular season match, and the Lions collected another Junior Piedmont District title.

While it’s difficult to predict how middle school athletes will progress as they become older, there appears to be a positive impact on future Comet golf on this Lion squad.

“We played well every match and it was a perfect year. I (appreciate) the way the kids acted as a team …it was one of the best team efforts I’ve had.When one of the projected top six faltered slightly, another golfer picked them up. We want to see these kids play as a team through at least college golf, and then it gets to be an individual thing. For the next ten years, they’ve got to be focused on team play,” coach Charlie Payne said.

Payne is high on the potential of the current eighth-grade students. The middle school team should be strong next season, as long as the players stay focused and keep a solid work ethic.

All of the middle school rounds were less than 200. In middle school golf, if teams average 200 or less, that’s very competitive.

Cunningham had an excellent season, but some sixth-grade students did not see as much action due to the level of young talent here. They include, Hunter Long, Payne’s grandson, Alex Payne, also shows promise, along with Peyton Murray, who could be one of the leading female players in the program.

There are several promising seventh-grade students, including Brayden Mele, who showed considerable improvement. Will Long also had a very productive season. He had medalist honors in his final match at 42.

Ainsley Gasperini, Sarah Lacks, Peyton Wallace and Colby Bates, all eighth-grade students, will move up to the high school next year.

“Exciting times for the whole golf programs,” said Payne. “The best is to come.”

The goal here is to help propel the Comets to their first state title in golf. While the stronger programs in the state might not take Halifax seriously, there’s also no question the future looks promising, at least in terms of repeat state appearances.

Suzanne Mele assisted the Lion golf program this season.

There is considerable depth and some of these other players could show improvement, further strengthening the ability of the Comet golf program to grow.





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