Winning golf matches, winning championships, making history – Polk County’s trio of golf seniors have been doing just that for some time.
The first conference title for Polk County Middle. The near-school for nine holes in the shortened 2020 season. Conference title, 1A West Regional title and fifth-place state finish in 2021. Another fifth-place finish in the 2A state tourney in 2022. School record for 18 holes and a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference crown this season.
The three seniors present for all of those accomplishments – Casey Beiler, Evan Jones and Reilly Yoder – plus junior Avery Harden would like to add another feat or two to that list. That quest begins Tuesday as the Wolverines take part in the 2A West Regional at Glen Oaks Country Club in Maiden.
Polk will enter coming off a dominant season in which the Wolverines won every match in which it competed, perhaps the first team in school history to do so. The 2A West is often among the toughest regionals in the state, and earning a top-three spot and trip to the state tourney in Pinehurst will be no easy task.
But Polk head coach Pat McCool feels good about the Wolverines’ chances, thanks in large part to that senior leadership.
“They’ve been there and they’ve been successful,” McCool said. “They have an expectation of doing it again,
“There’s a lot of pressure that day (in regional competition), but I’ve seen them play well under that pressure.”
While each senior has been part of the Wolverine program for four seasons, their golfing stories began long before.
“Each one has had their own path,” McCool said. “Evan learned golf at Tryon Country Club and played there a lot. The others picked it up with their dads. And Avery learned from his grandfather.
“They’ve been good golfers all the way through high school. But they have picked up their play a notch this season, especially Reilly and Casey. Evan has been pretty steady all four seasons.”
That high level of play will be needed Tuesday. Host Maiden, Pine Lake Prep, Bandys and Hendersonville are among the teams that McCool expects to be in the hunt for the three available state tournament berths.
And, of course, the Wolverines, who would like to ultimately better the third-place state finish recorded by Polk County’s 2008 team.
“There are going to be a lot of good teams there,” McCool said. “But winning the state tournament, that’s our objective. It has been all season.”