Kennesaw Mountain was the Region 4AAAAAA runner-up after shooting 325 to advance boys Class AAAAAA tournament at Cannongate at Georgia National in McDonough.
Three-time region champion Jonathan Keppler will lead the Mustangs, who hope to become one of the top nine finishers to advance to the state meet among the 16 qualifying teams. Other top golfers for Kennesaw Mountain include Zach Wilson, Brendan Hughes and William Dawson.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to advance to state,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Chris Walker said. “We’re a tough team and we’re capable of getting there. Jonathan’s our leader. This is his team. He motivates our guys to play better and that’s what we’re hoping to see (today).”
Pope placed fourth in Region 7AAAAA with a score of 334 to move on to sectionals at White Oak Golf Club – Seminole in Newnan. This is the first trip to the postseason for the Greyhounds, who will be led by Daniel Edmondson, Alex Reedy, Brady Kupersmith and James Gruber. The boys Class AAAAA field includes 17 teams and the top eight qualify for the state meet.
“This is the first time in our history to qualify out of region, so we’re excited,” Pope coach Jason Dasinger said. “We want to make it a great experience. We’re a young team with no seniors so it’s an opportunity for us to build on next year.
“We feel like we’re in the middle of the pack based on our region score, so we’re going to do our best to finish well and qualify for state.
Kell will be joining Pope in Newnan after the Longhorns finished as the region runner-up with a score of 318. Matthew Hines, the Region 7AAAAA champion, anchors a group that includes Ryan Hines, Mark Decoster and Eli Newsome.
“We went down to Newnan (Saturday) and had a practice round which went very well,” Kell coach Craig Hines said. “If we play like we’re supposed to play, we’ll qualify. We feel confident. We’ve finished in the top 10 at state the last three years and we’d like to do it again. It all starts with how we do (today).”
Mount Paran Christian shot 312 to place second behind private school Area 4A rival Walker. The Eagles, who have a strong postseason history, are led by Tyler Young, Mark Alford, Davis Hall and Jameson VerSteeg.
The Class A private school sectional will be held at Eagle’s Brook Golf Club in Locust Grove. Mount Paran must finish among the top four squads out of 12 teams to advance.
“We played the course on Wednesday, and it’s a really nice course,” Mount Paran coach Scott Varner said. “We have some guys that are playing OK and some guys who figuring things out.
“There are seven really good teams and three of the seven come from our region. It will be a test to make the top four, but if we do what we did at area, then we have a good chance.”
On the girls’ side, Walton, Pope and Whitefield Academy qualified for their respective sectionals.
The Lady Raiders, who were the Region 5AAAAAA runner-up with a score of 248, play their sectional at Heron Bay Golf Course in Locust Grove. The top eight of 16 teams move on to the state meet.
A fixture at the state tournament over the years, Walton will have a tougher time advancing after losing its No. 3 and No. 4 golfers, Meredith Singer and Peyton Melcher, because of AP exams today. Alternates Lindsay Seagraves and Christina Dinatale will golf in their place.
“Winning region would have alleviated the problem we have with the AP exam, but it is what it is,” Walton coach Richard Myrick said. “It puts a little more pressure on Abbey (Williams) and Auburn (Gabe) to play really well to keep our score as low as possible. Lindsay and Christina will also have to do the best they can to help.”
Whitefield Academy, which shot 199 to place third in Area 4A, will have to finish among the top four out of 11 teams at their Class A private school sectional, which takes place at The Cotton Fields Golf Club in McDonough, to move on to state.
Madison Barnett and Audrey Garett are set to lead the Lady Wolfpack.