Prep Golf: Salisbury's four seniors look back
By Ryan Bisesi
SOUTHERN PINES — Four seniors. Three college scholarships. Two state championships. One link to the greatest run in Salisbury golf history.
Troy Beaver, Alex Nianouris, Alex Lee and Clark Alcorn all share a link to the aforementioned.
The four composed a litany of accolades while at Salisbury, making their successes commonplace. The bond was anything but for the Fab Four.
“We’ve played golf since we were in fifth grade,” Beaver said. “Alex Lee’s dad was coaching us and we’ve grown up doing everything together.”
They were key members of the Salisbury assembly line that helped make the Hornets the first school to win girls and boys titles in the same academic year on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t really come around much these days,” Lee said. “It’s been a ride and a real joy to play with all these guys. To know that three of us are going on to play college golf is special.”
They were there for 25 straight victories in CCC matches. The first one in their freshman year featured a second-place finish to Ledford. Since then, Salisbury hasn’t lost a conference battle.
You could chalk that up to the Hornets’ depth that lies within their senior class. The Hornets threw away two 76s on Monday, which coach Dale Snyder joked he could sell to some other coaches. Tuesday, the Hornets recorded scores of 69, 69, 70 and 75.
“We’ve become so close over the last four years,” said Nianouris, who finished second in the individual standings with a 140 and was the county match medalist.
Beaver, Nianouris and Lee will all play in college. Lee (Catawba) is staying close to home. Nianouris (Davidson) and Beaver (Elon) will head to the Southern Conference, joining Salisbury alum Roy Dixon at UNC Greensboro. Alcorn turned down interest from teams to focus on academics at UNC.
“Coming off the last tee was tough,” Alcorn said. “I’ve learned so much and I’m real sad that it’s over. It’s been the four greatest golf years of my life.”
There was no ending more suitable than Tuesday’s result of a second-straight state crown. After coasting to a title last year, the Hornets returned an experienced team and rarely struggled throughout the conference season. The county match was another stroll as the Hornets won for the fourth-straight year by 41 strokes. The region went to Salisbury for the third straight season. None of the seniors played on a team that finished higher than fourth in the state.
The Hornets were fourth in 2009 and runner up in 2010 to North Lincoln. That same year, Will Collins won the individual title when Nianouris, Lee, Beaver and Alcorn were sophomores. This year, Eric Edwards was the phenom sophomore who finished third as an individual after shooting 69 Tuesday and 142 for the tournament.
“It’s so much fun,” said Edwards of playing with four seniors. “We’re always competing against each other, but it’s a friendly competition.”
Beaver was the CCC Player of the Year after obtaining medalist at the conference title match. Beaver also had the lowest score at the Midwest regional in Mount Airy.
The quartet played growing up and throughout Salisbury Academy before approaching the prep ranks. Alcorn and Beaver normally play at Salisbury Country Club while Lee and Nianouris play at the Warrior, where Alex Lee’s dad, Brian, is the course pro.
Snyder struggled to put together how impactful the seniors were after his final match coaching them.
“It’s not even golf,” Snyder said. “It’s just how great these kids are. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye to these guys.”
Snyder commended the parents and the people that construct the Salisbury golf community, saying of the 100 people responsible to make the titles happen, he’s somewhere in the 80’s.
“That’s just four kids that do everything you ask them to do,” Snyder said. “They’re incredible.”
“We’ve got a good junior class and they can play, but they’ve got some big shoes to fill.”