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High School Girls’ Golf: Waddell 3-peats as Player of the Year – Salisbury Post

High School Girls’ Golf: Waddell 3-peats as Player of the Year – Salisbury Post

High School Girls’ Golf: Waddell 3-peats as Player of the Year

Published at 12:00 AM Thursday 10 November 2022

by Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

Granite Quarry East Rowan junior golfer Hannah Waddell wanted her scorecard to be in the ’70s, not the ’90s, so she didn’t have the fall golf she wanted.

But if greatness proves to be elusive, it’s still very good. The most consistent player from start to finish, she’s the Roanne County golfer at the Post for the third time in a row.

“My progress this year hasn’t been as good as I wanted it to be,” Waddell said thoughtfully. “So I think my strongest achievement has been just staying ahead of the convention and the boycott.”

Valley had her moments. There were days full of pars. There were 38 for nine holes in the Warrior. There were 39 in Corbin Hills.

But the weather is blazing hot on most golf prime dates in October. In those days, she was trying to survive.

At the Rowan County Championship, Waddell shot 91 on a rainy day in Corbin Hills when the girls played 18. She tied with teammate Addison Quinn for the coveted county champ title. Waddell was a solo champion as a freshman and sophomore.

Then the weather at the all-important 3A West Regional made the dreary conditions at the county championship seem almost bland. The wind blew and the temperature dropped at the Cedar Rock Golf Club in Lenoir.

“It was freezing,” Waddell said. “Bad day.”

Qualification for the state championship comes to that round at the regional level. There are no delays, no delays. Either you find a way to do it or you don’t.

Waddell managed to qualify with a score of 95. She wasn’t thrilled, but it was enough to get her to her third straight state championship. It was a tumultuous day when some good golfers, including Quinn, shot a 105. It was a day some professional golfers shot a 125.

“When things got tough, Hannah stepped in,” East Rowan coach Tinsley Merrill said. “It wasn’t her best day, but she’s not going to quit. She’ll fight through it. Attitude is so important in golf, and she’s able to keep her balance when things don’t go well. Some girls are on a rollercoaster out there, but they never are” .

There were more ups and downs in the 3A State Championships at the Southern Pines, but Waddell got back on track with rounds 90 and 88.

She was more consistent off the tee, and more consistent in her approach shots. I cut her last three holes. She made eight seasons en route to No. 88 and finished in a 20-game draw.

“I was just happy to make some pars in the state,” Waddell said. “It was a good season. It is a good season when you win trophies.”

The Mustangs couldn’t return to the state championship as a team, but they did win the Southern Piedmont Conference—Waddell was the SPC Player of the Year—and dominated the Rowan County Championship with the top three and four of all-eight counties.

The East Girls have won six county titles in a row. Retired coach Rhett Thames started that streak. Merrill extended it.

“The girls got along really well as a team and learned something along the way,” Merrill said. “A lot of golf was played. Most importantly, memories were made.”

Merrill wants Waddell to be as successful in golf as Waddell does.

But she wants to see her enjoy herself as much as she wants her to score well.

“Hannah’s results were a little bit higher this year, but when you look at her, she was still good enough to win the medal in nine of the 11 games we played,” Merrill said. “And I thought she smiled more this year than I saw hers. When you can have fun and enjoy your teammates and still compete your hardest – and still win – well, that’s the icing on the cake. That’s it.”

Waddell now moves on to the hoops. Besides her golf skills, she is the best scorer for the East on the basketball court. She averaged 11.7 points in the second year.

“Golf and basketball are still equal to me,” Waddell said. “I will still play both sports.”

All-Rowan County Team:

The team is determined by results in the 18-hole Roanne County Championship.

East – Hannah Waddell (91), Addison Quinn (91), Emma Cornelison (96), Cali Pfister (107)

South – Ava Bloom (98), Cassidy Schiller (99), Ella Cardin (104)

North – Azaria Elder (106)

Coach of the Year – Tinsley Merrill, Sharq

Return – Due to an upset heart, Sechler returned to athletics as a golfer and was eligible for the state.

CCC – Elder was the Championship Champion in the Central Carolina Conference, while Kendall Colwell of Salisbury finished fourth in the CCC of the season.

Gray Stone – Hannah Lineberry was a state qualifier in the 1A/2A, shot 97-94-191 and tied for 24th.

North Hills – Freshman Reese Merrill, Tinsley’s niece Merrill, fired an 85 in the NCISAA Championships held at Bryan Park in Browns Summit and tied at 21.

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