Jim McGrew figured his Northwest Whitfield boys golf team would be playing today in a State Sectional.
They finished third in the Region 7-AAAA championship behind Dalton which earned an automatic bid to the state championship. Heritage finished runner-up followed by the Bruins who were one spot ahead of LaFayette. It seemed those three teams would be playing today.
But a new required qualifying score eliminated the need for a state sectional in the boy's Class-AAAA division.
So Dalton, Heritage, Northwest and LaFayette will all be competing for the Class-AAAA state championship on May 20 at Dalton Golf and Country Club.
"What we as coaches put in place for this year is that you have teams that deserve to be at state," McGrew said. "You had people at state with high scores. As it turned out, only 15 teams met the score which means all 15 teams are coming to Dalton, and we're the host."
But other Northwest Georgia teams do not have the luxury of practicing at home today. Trion is in a tournament where 12 teams are playing for four spots in their classification. Calhoun and Dade County are part of a nine teams for eight spots in the Class AA sectional which has been pushed to Friday at Blueberry Plantation in Alma, Ga.
On the girls side, Northwest, Heritage and Southeast Whitfield finished behind Dalton which puts those three schools in a 13-for-11 tournament today. The Trion and Gordon Lee girls are in a 12-for-4 spot today.
"It's all about getting to state," Northwest girls coach John Linder said. "I like sectionals because the whole idea was to get better competition at state and weed out the weaker teams."
Each of the Georgia classifications will hold one-day state championships on May 20 at courses across the state. In addition to the championship at Dalton, Nob North Golf Course will be site of the girls Class-AAAA championship .
The Dalton boys, Ringgold boys, Gordon Lee boys as well as the Dalton girls, Calhoun girls and North Murray County girls do not have to sweat a sectional. They're all going to the state championship.
"What we'd get in the past is some team from here or there that would shoot 400 at state and slow everybody down," North Murray coach Keith Robinette said. "With qualifying scores, we should have better tournaments."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...