This fall will be the last for Jimmy Cate leading the Stratford High School girls golf team.
The Knights presented their sixth-year coach with a bench and engraved nameplate at a ceremony in September at Crowfield Golf Club. The squad might have done him one better on Oct. 11 by capturing the Region 7-AAAAA championship, also at Crowfield.
“They played amazing,” Cate said. “They gutted it out. Knowing this was going to be my last year they wanted to send me out with a nice little reward. They played great and stayed focused. They definitely deserve the region title.”
Senior Chayse Cool carded a 77 to win the tournament for the Knights, reeling in region player of the honors with it. Cool recorded a pair of birdies on the front nine to go out in 36.
Cate said golfers had to navigate a number of tough pin placements.
“The course was playing pretty difficult,” Cate said. “The wind would gust every once in a while and cause some issues but she (Cool) was steady. She was gritty. That’s what Stratford golf is about, just working hard and keeping that score as low as possible. She persevered on a tough course.”
Junior Faith Owens and senior Rori Mae Condon also earned all-region honors for the Knights, carding a 92 and 98.
“For Rori Mae, it’s a culmination of all her years working hard to lead this team,” Cate said. “To be all-region was a goal of hers so to see her achieve the goal was great to see. Faith has been our steady No. 2 golfer this year."
The Knights also counted a 104 from freshman Braylee Wright.
Stratford carded a 371 and bested runner-up Wando by three shots. Berkeley placed third with a 423 and Cane Bay fourth at 497.
Also earning all-region honors were Ashlyn Brown, Ava Kaplan, Grace Lindsey and Ella Drew Dodd of Wando and Faith Marie Williams of Berkeley.
Williams finished with a 103 and the Stags also counted Mittie Borden’s 105, Logan Guerry’s 106 and Trista Stanley’s 109.
Next up for Region 7-AAAAA squads is the Class AAAAA Lower State tournament at Shaftesbury Glen Golf and Fish Club in Conway. The top eight out of 16 teams advance to the state tournament at the Country Club of South Carolina in Florence on Oct. 25-26.
“Our goal is to finish in the top eight and get to state,” Cate said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle. We have a lot of good teams and players in the Lower State this year. We have our work cut out for us.”
The Knights have advanced to the final tournament of the fall three straight years.
Last fall, Cate’s squad was 13th at state, up two spots from 15th in 2019.
“We want to be top 10 in the state,” Cate said. “Hopefully, we’ll accomplish that goal. We’re on track right now. They’re going do everything they can to achieve that. Lower State is just one day so you have to be 100 percent focused on what you can do to get us qualified.”
Last fall, Lexington continued its dominance of the sport, winning state by 32 shots over 2019 champion Blythewood. The Lady Wildcats fired a state-record 578, two strokes better than the 2013 team’s 580.