There are usually two kinds of teams playing in the Upper State qualifying tournament.
Some of the teams expect to qualify for the state championship and consider the tournament just a warm up for the state tournament.
Some teams are just happy to have a chance to keep their season going and qualifying to play in the state championship is almost as good as winning a title.
At the AAAA Upper State tournament held at Southern Oaks, Daniel High School was the team to beat and the Lions finished on top of the field.
Blue Ridge was the team that hoped to play well enough to make the state final and the Tigers did.
The Daniel team expected to be going to the state championship at Port Royal on Hilton Head, Island next week. The Lions won the Upper State title with a 332 total to finish 25 shots in front of Pickens.
“We have had a good season and now we want to see if we can keep it going at state,” said Daniel coach Andy Swords. “The team from St. James won last year and they are very good, but we hope we can compete with them this year,” he said.
Daniel finished third two years ago in what was then the AAA championship. The Lions are led by Katie Whitfield who just set a new school record by shooting a 67 in the Region championship.
“We have good players who have gotten better during the year. We are going to see if we can improve on our finish of a couple of years ago,” said the Daniel coach.
The Daniel team going to the state final include Whitfield, Gillian O’Brien, Emileigh Swords, Adrienne O’Brien and Courtney Collins.
The top eight teams and three individuals all advanced to the state finals. After Daniel and Pickens the next six qualifiers were, 3 – Wren 385, 4 – Travelers Rest 392, 5 – North Augusta 398, 6 – York – 399, 7 – Greenville 407 and 8 – Blue Ridge 417.
Baylee Evans of Lancaster was the medalist after shooting a 75. The Lancaster golfer qualified for the state championship as an individual. She is joined as individual entrants by Kennedy McGaha from BHP and Imani Belton of Ridge View.
The Tigers from northern Greenville County made the field for the first time in at least the last six years.
“I know this is the first time we made it since I have been coaching,” said Randy Cisson, “so that is six years and not many people remember the last time we went to state,” he added.
Blue Ridge finished play in front of several other teams and had to wait until all the scores were posted to find out if they would play in the state championship.
As the scores were posted the Tigers started to get excited and when the 8th place number was put next to the team total on the scoreboard they literally jumped for joy.
“I think you can see the way we reacted that this is a big deal for us. We only have one senior and its great we can get to state for her and great that the younger golfers can get the experience of playing in the finals,” said Cisson.
The team Blue Ridge will send to the state AAAA tournament includes, Raquel Fowler, Payton Lake, Maggie Poole, Mia Gilbert and Aspen Craig.