Bilby earns medalist to lead Brooke to state
MOUNDSVILLE — After a one-year hiatus, the Wheeling Park golf team has once again qualified for the West Virginia state golf tournament as the Patriots garnered the Class AAA Region 1 championship on Monday at the Moundsville Country Club.
Brooke also earned a spot in the state tournament by claiming runner-up honors with a score of 241. The Patriots won with a team card of 235.
Brooke freshman Ryan Bilby captured match medalist honors with a score of 73, edging Park’s Jacob Nickell who turned in a 74.
Just two weeks ago, it was Nickell taking home the 5A OVAC championship with a score of 67, and Bilby followed with a 70 before turning the tables on Monday.
“I just played my game,” Bilby said. “I was making some putts, and I just got him by a shot. We’ve went back and forth all year, but this was the right time to beat him.
“My short game was good and my long game was as good as it could have been. Now we are going to states, and there are a lot of good players there this year. It is very special to go as a team, and we will see what we can do.”
The consistent group of Patriots had great showings from Dorothy Romanek who helped the cause by shooting an 80. Noah Seivertson accumulated an 81, and Ryan Payne added an 83.
“Last year was the first time we didn’t make the state tournament in 10 years,” Park coach Don Headley said. “This is very enjoyable to relish this moment.
“I am proud of Dorothy. She played well, and our freshman Noah and steady Ryan were all right there. It was just a good day. Jacob has to have those consistent players behind him, and they all play very consistent golf.”
Nickell is aiming to become Wheeling Park’s second four-time all-stater in school history. Cole Hand was the first in 2014.
“He is definitely the captain of the ship,” Headley said. “He did a fabulous job (Monday) and missed the low score by just one shot. He will have a chance to redeem himself next week.”
Adding support to Bilby’s performance for the Bruins were Evan Cuomo with an 80, an 88 from Justin Shelton and Michael Spitak’s 92.
“It’s a great feeling to get a chance to go to the state tournament,” Brooke coach Ron Ujcich Jr. said. “I’m happy with the guys. They held it together and came up with some good scores and that was one of our goals coming into it. This is my first trip to the state tournament with an entire team, so we are pretty excited and looking forward to it.”
Bilby took home the victory despite not sinking a birdie, but he collected 15 pars on the course.
“He has been solid for us all year,” Ujcich said. “He has been a great one man for us. He has performed when he has had to and when the pressure is on; he hasn’t cracked. He holds himself to a high standard.”
As the match concluded, John Marshall senior Colton Patrello entered a playoff with Buckhannon-Upshur’s Christian McKisic for the rights to advance to the state tournament as an individual.
After knocking the ball directly next to a sand trap on the first hole, Patrello delivered an excellent chip shot landing near the hole to keep him alive. Both golfers sank their next puts to remain tied and advance to the 18th hole.
McKisic placed his next tee shot just on the edge of the green and finished the hole for par, while Patrello’s initial shot went wide of the green and he was unable to recover, falling just short of a state tournament appearance. Both finished 18 holes with an 81.
“I could not be prouder of Colton,” John Marshall coach David Gaudino said. “He had the chance to qualify and that was because of four years of hard work. He has played here so much, and he loves this course. I knew he had a tough opponent, but I had complete confidence in him that he could do something special.”
The Monarchs finished fourth with a score of 251 as Cody Sprowls generated an 83, Dustin Beazel accounted for an 87 and Ryan Campbell added a 98.
“It’s been a great season with all of these guys,” Gaudino said. “I could not be prouder of them, and they played some of their best golf (Monday). We did an awful lot together to make this season happen. We had a lot of fun and played well all year.”
¯ The other individual advancing to the state tournament was Jake Livengood of Preston who finished with an 80.
¯ Morgantown was led by Brayden Wassick’s 82 and Ryan Bashour paced University with an 85.