Prep Golf: Salisbury goes for second straight state title
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Salisbury golf coach Dale Snyder has no worries about his talented, experienced golf team, but the weather reports made him toss and turn a little on Sunday night.
The Hornets are in Southern Pines and are mentally and physically prepared to begin defense of their 2A state title today at Longleaf, but the forecast isn’t overly promising.
The good news is Tuesday should be better.
There was plenty of answering phone calls, texts and wish-you-well emails from home on Sunday, but the Hornets still managed to get in a solid practice round at Longleaf before the weather deteriorated around 6 p.m.
This championship is set for 36 holes, but if it gets weather-shortened to 18, luck becomes a bigger factor. Snyder is well aware of that.
“If it’s just 18 holes, one guy gets hot for one day and shoots a 64, and it can change everything,” Snyder said. “That’s my foremost concern right now. I just want us to have the chance to play 36 holes sometime between Monday morning and Tuesday night, and I really do think we’ll be able to play all 36 unless we get lightning or the greens are puddling up.”
If it’s just basic wet stuff with no electrical bolts, Snyder will bring an umbrella and relax. The Hornets played a rainswept course in early April in the high-powered Palmetto Classic in Myrtle Beach — and thrived as mudders.
“It was raining sideways, and our guys still had the lowest round that day,” Snyder said. “Rain won’t bother us, and we do have some experience playing in it.”
Experience is the Hornets’ strong suit. Snyder will send out a half-dozen polished golfers, and every one of them has lived through a state championship tournament before.
It’s hard to believe, but all six have won medalist or co-medalist honors in a match this season. That’s crazy depth for a 2A public school.
“How great is that?” Snyder said. “Those guys have battled each other all year, and each of them has led us at some point this year.”
Five Hornets — Alex Nianouris, Troy Beaver, Alex Lee, Clark Alcorn and Eric Edwards — teamed with 2011 grad Roy Dixon to run away with the state title last season. The sixth Hornet — Joseph Rusher — played in the state championship event in 2009.
Of the four seniors, Nianouris signed with Davidson; Beaver is headed to Elon, and Lee will compete for Catawba. Alcorn could play for a lot of schools, but he’s opted to be a normal student at UNC.
Last spring, Salisbury’s total of 580 was good enough to romp by 24 strokes over runner-up North Lincoln, which had won 2A in 2009 and 2010.
On paper, Salisbury has every chance to repeat.
“We just want to play our ‘A’ game without a lot of mistakes, and if we do, I think we’ll be hard to beat,” Snyder said. “But North Lincoln’s always going to be there, and Newton-Conover actually beat North Lincoln in their regional. Southwest Edgecombe shot 300 in their regional, a stroke better than us. Then there’s West Davidson. They pushed us all year in our league. Five or six teams could win this thing.”
Weather permitting, Nianouris will lead off for the Hornets today on the No. 1 tee at 8:20 a.m. He’ll be followed in the lineup in 10-minute increments by Beaver, Alcorn, Lee, Edwards and Rusher.
“There’s a very big target on our back, but we are the champions,” Snyder said. “We expect to play like it.”
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