Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 12, 2013

SALISBURY — Circumstances had Salisbury golf coach Dale Snyder driving the girls tennis team to a match a few days ago, and it gave him some new perspectives.
“I got to see Madeline Hoskins be a great leader for the tennis team in that same way that she is for our golf team,” Snyder said. “It was a neat thing to see. It was fun to watch.”
Hoskins, a senior who already has been part of three tennis state titles and two golf state titles, did some more winning on Wednesday.
She shot 77 at Corbin Hills, good enough for gold in most girls matches, but she settled for bronze in the Rowan County Tournament behind teammates Isabella Rusher, the county champ with a 75, and Grace Yatawara, who shot 76.
Rusher is a junior phenom who already owns two individual 2A titles. Yatawara is just a sophomore and is a phenom in her own right.
Rusher could be the first N.C. female to win four straight individual state championships.
“You almost hate to say it, but the toughest competition for Isabella winning the state again probably is going to be her own teammates,” Snyder said. “I really can’t say enough about how good our top three girls are.”
Snyder didn’t have to say much rah-rah stuff Wednesday. That devastating 75-76-77 combination added up to 228, and the SHS females easily remained unbeaten in the history of the county tournament.
“All three of them came back in a little bit mad because they all gave up a few strokes on the last couple of holes,” Snyder said. “None of them were happy at how they finished, but I hope they enjoyed this. Being the best in the county will always be a big deal.”
Carson finished a distant second at 296 — 68 shots back of the Hornets. East was third at 298.
“Girls golf started with us in the county,” Snyder said. “But you can see every school making progress. Every school that competed (North doesn’t have a team) had a girl break 100 today, and that used to be unheard of. East had two girls in the 90s. A lot of schools are setting themselves up for good runs, and it won’t be long before girls golf is like boys golf — with great competition and good players all over the county.”
Salisbury’s fourth and fifth players, Caroline Parrott (98) and Shelby Holden (101), are threats to make it to the state golf championships.
“That’s a realistic goal,” Snyder said. “They’re good enough. They just got tired on their last nine, and that’s something we learned today. We can use more 18-hole matches.”
Carson scorers were Adison Collins (92), Katlyn Smith (100) and Alisha Sears (104). East scorers were Kathrine Marcum (90), Grace Stokes (99) and Riley Padgett (109).
West scorers were Kelly Boley (98), Markey Brandt (101) and Savannah Lloyd (103). South scorers were Alex Bare (93), Casey Pruitt (113) and Marin Lewallen (114).
The all-county team consists of the eight girls who shot 98 or better — Rusher, Yatawara, Hoskins, Parrott, Collins, Marcum, Bare and Boley.
The county tournament is usually held later, but they played it Wednesday just to make sure they got it in.
“We’ve got a girls golf conference for the first time in the CCC this year, and a lot of the schools are in a big conference (SPC) with a conference tournament,” Snyder explained. “If you schedule the county tournament late in the year and you get bad weather, you may not have a date to play it.”
At the end of the day, it was another small step for the Salisbury girls golf dynasty, a dynasty that — assuming good health — will claim its third straight 1A/2A championship in November.
The only reason Salisbury doesn’t have eight straight girls golf banners on the gym wall is that it competed against the 3A schools as well as the 1A and 2As through 2010.
“We’ve been the best 2A team in the state the last eight years,” Snyder said proudly.
Count on the Hornets making it nine.