WEIRTON - The Madonna golf team is heading back to the West Virginia Class A State Tournament.
Behind the 3-over 75 from medalist Nick Mazur, the Blue Dons shot 227 to top St. Marys by 17 shots Monday at Williams Country Club in the Class A regional tournament.
It gives Madonna another trip to Oglebay Park next week and a chance to hoist the state championship plaque.
REGIONAL CHAMPS — The Weirton Madonna golf team won the West Virginia Class A?Region 1 tournament Monday at Williams Country Club. From left, Nick Mazur, Thomas Gianni, Alex Colantonio, Michael Rogers, Matthew Lyons, Hunter Payne and head coach T.J. Brancazio. The Blue Dons, who won the state title in 2010, will compete for another championship next week.
-- Mike Mathison
"It's really special to go back to states because it's my senior year," said Madonna's Alex Colantonio, who finished fourth a year ago as Madonna was runner-up to Charleston Catholic for the third time in the last four years (Madonna won the state crown in 2010). "I played pretty well last year and it's special to have the chance to go down there and try to do better.
"And try to win it, instead of coming in second."
Mazur spent Sunday in a two-man playoff with teammate Matthew Lyons for the final spot on the four-man team.
"It was pretty tough yesterday," said Mazur, who birdied the 18th hole for the win. "I knew it was coming, but that didn't make it any easier.
"I was focused on what I didn't do well yesterday and do better today in those areas. I putted well today and hit my approaches well.
"It feels good to have a chance to go back to states. I want to win my junior year with all my friends and have a chance to go back there again next year."
Colantonio and Michael Rogers each shot 76 and Thomas Gianni 80 in the format that plays four and scores three.
"I don't know why the state does that," said Madonna coach T.J. Brancazio. "We play six and score four all year and now it changes. I don't understand it.
"But, Matthew is going with us and if someone doesn't play well the first day, then Matthew can play because you can substitute on the second day. I believe I have done that the last three years."
Next week is pretty simple for Brancazio.
"If we can repeat that performance, we will be in the hunt next week," he said. "I think we are playing our best golf right now.'
Sophomore Drew Wells led St. Marys with a 78. Coleman Lamp shot 80, Robbie Harper 86 and Jared Nichols 89.
"We achieved our goal," said St. Marys coach Howie Meeks. "We came up here to qualify for states and we did. To beat Madonna under these circumstances is really hard. They have a really good team."
The two individuals who qualified for the state tournament are Magnolia's Peyton Moore (80) and Bishop Donahue's Steven Gretchen (81).
For Rogers, Gianni and Colantonio, next week is sort of redemption.
"We want to win states," said Gianni. "This means a lot to me. All three of us gew up together and it means a lot that we are able to go back down to states together and play as a team.
"It's a little painful to keep getting that runner-up trophy. We want to change that."
"It's been our goal to get back to states, especially since we are seniors," said Colantonio. "We would like to go out as winners this time, though."
"It means a lot since it is our senior year," said Rogers. "We have to have three good scores two days in a row to win states.
"Weather down there is usually not very good, so we have to be prepared for that."
For Madonna, playing this major tournament on its home course is a huge plus.
"It's always an advantage to be the home team. Our guys play a lot of golf up here," said Brancazio.
"If you have a bad hole, you know there are a couple of birdie holes coming up," said Colantonio. "We play here a lot, so we know our distances and what clubs to hit. It's a plus."
"It's definitely an advantage, that's for sure," said Gianni. "But, we still have to play hard, that's for sure. We still have to play well."
"It feels like we are just playing for fun," said Rogers. "It doesn't always feel like a competition when we are playing on our home course. It just feels like we are playing against each other."
The Brooke golf team finished fifth in the Class AAA regional tournament at Parkersburg Country Club.
Junior Logan Lojszczyk earned a spot in the state tournament with a 3-over 76.
"Today's round was up and down, but a couple of birdies saved me," said Lojszczyk, who is returning to state for the second straight year. "My goal is to play better than I did last year."
University's Eric Wirth defeated Parkersburg's Lucas Prine in a one-hole playoff for the final qualifying spot for individuals not members from an advancing team. Both golfers tied with a 79.
West Virginia Class A
Regional I Golf Tournament
at Williams Country Club
Madonna (227): Nick Mazur 75, Michael Rogers 76, Alex Colantonio 76, Thomas Gianni 80.
St. Marys (244): Drew Wells 78, Coleman Lamp 80, Robbie Harper 86, Jared Nichols 89.
Wheeling Central (252): Thomas Stanley 82, Jonathan Haley 84, Sean McFarland 86, Justin Leonard 90.
Magnolia (258): Peyton Moore 80, Jake Starkey 88, Derrick Blain 90, Matthew Darig 98.
Bishop Donahue (285): Steven Gretchen 81, Gabe Mickey 102, Eric Myers 102, Rebekah Trader 132.
Morgantown Trinity (297): Dominic Raymond III 94, Matt Dlugos 97, Sophia Podolinski 106, Eric Cummings 124.
Tyler Consolidated (317): Nathan Kemp 92, Sean Camerlin 105, John Lancaster 120, Ty Pratt 125.
Clay-Battelle (328): Brennan Statler 92, Brandon Poling 106, Zach Moore 130.
Paden City (360): Jake Pierce 113, Kennedy Cain 117, Jeremy Mercer 130, Levi Meadows 134.
Class AAA, Region I
At Parkersburg Country Club
Parkersburg South (238): Alex Schreckengost 38-36-74; Adeena Shears 37-38-75; Garrett Dailey 41-48-89; Noah Smith 46-45-91
Wheeling Park (242): Kyle Wenzel 39-41-80; Cole Hand 39-42-81; Dylan Wojcik 42-39-81; Freddie Fitzsimmons 44-41-85
University (245): Eric Wirth 40-39-79; Cale Wheeler 38-44-82; Chase Voithofer 42-42-84; Oliver Weigand 48-55-103
Parkersburg (248): Lucas Prine 44-35-79; Lauryn Davidson 45-36-81; Austin Davis 51-37-88; Ian McElroy 46-44-90
Brooke (285): Logan Lojszczyk 40-36-76; Michael Petrosky 43-48-91; Noah Teaff 55-63-118; Trey Gilham 53-67-120
Morgantown (295): River Hames 50-46-96; John Tanner 46-50-96; Stephen Green 54-49-103; David Tanner 53-54-107
John Marshall (326): Colin Griffith 51-52-103; Jacob Masters 53-58-111; Kailey Pettit 52-60-112; Austin Blake 60-62-122
Preston (330): Vanessa Kelley 49-49-98; R.T. Hare 54-61-115; Joseph Boyle 58-59-117; Casey Murray 62-61-123