By STEVE WILLIAMS
Pittsboro Northwood has made another step forward in establishing its position among the best 3-A teams in the state.
The Chargers finished eighth with an all-freshman lineup in 2008, moved up to fifth in 2009 and climbed another notch to fourth this time around. They will have their sights set on challenging for the top spot next fall when its key players are seniors.
“Their goal is definitely to take No. 1 next year,” said Northwood coach Karen Crisp, a professional at the Golf Club at Chapel Ridge. “They had that in their sights this year but just didn’t play as well as they could have.”
Emily Brooks has followed the Chargers’ roadmap as an individual, climbing from 23rd as a freshman, to seventh a year ago and to fifth this year. She shot 80-76 in the state tournament on the first two days of November at Longleaf Golf Club and finished 13 strokes off the pace of West Henderson’s Kayla Sciupider, who fired 72-71 and won her second straight title.
West Henderson followed its senior star’s brilliant play to claim a second straight team title as well with 486 (241-245). Salisbury was second with 498 and Northern Guilford posted 515 to finish third, one shot better than Northwood, which had 250-256.
In addition to Brooks, the Chargers counted 83-90 by Maggie Denny and 90-93 by Avri Smith.
Northwood, which won the East Regional prior to its strong finish in the state tournament, is the only team in the top four not to have a key senior in its lineup, thus the optimism for 2011.
The Chargers didn’t even have a golf team prior to 2008, but now have seven girls in the program. Sophomore Rachel Wynne also qualified for the regional but didn’t advance to the state.
The other three are freshmen just learning to play.
Northwood was the only Triangle team to earn a spot in the 12-team state field. Individually, Caroline Jones of Chapel Hill tied for eighth with 79-80.