Brooke’s Ryan Bilby sets course record
WEIRTON — Wheeling Park is on a mission, and so is Brooke senior Ryan Bilby.
The Patriots have their eyes on their first state title since 2014 after finishing in a close second place last year, and Bilby wants to cement his legacy at Brooke, in the Ohio Valley and the state of West Virginia.
Both made giant strides toward accomplishing those goals on Monday, as Wheeling Park shot a 235 to win the Class AAA Region 1 championship at the Williams Country Club. Bilby shot a course record 8-under par 64 to earn match medalist honors and advance to the state tournament.
This makes 12 state tournament appearances for the Wheeling Park golf team in the last 13 years
“I feel like we gave it away last year,” Park coach Don Headley said. “We’ve been working all season, and with COVID going on, they have been working to get back to this point. I’m happy, and I know they are happy to get back and try to win it on Jones (at Oglebay).
“I’m excited to see if they can redeem themselves.
“It also is a nice way for James (Salvatori) and Noah (Seivertson) to finish their careers. They get to play against the best in Ryan Bilby.”
Bilby, the defending regional and state champion in Class AAA, is taking his game to a level not many have seen in the area before.
On Monday, Bilby fired a 34 on the front-9 before absolutely crushing the field on the back-9 with a score of 30.
“Ryan was absolutely outstanding (Friday),” Brooke coach Ron Ujcich said. “It was great to see him pull off a round like that. He caught fire on the back and never took his foot off the gas.
“Watching Ryan out there (Friday) was definitely one of the highlights of my coaching career. We are looking forward to the state tournament at Oglebay next week and hoping he can repeat as state medalist again.”
John Marshall’s Colton Sprowls also qualified for state as an individual with an impressive round of 82. Sprowls showcased his skills on the front-9 with a card of 39 before finishing his round with a 43 to clinch a spot at state.
“Colton played all day just trying to keep it out of the trees and bunkers and did that pretty well,” JM coach David Gaudino said. “He does not let a bad shot bother him, and he just keeps playing.
“He’s as strong as his older brother, Cody, who has been a big influence on his golf development. He started playing when he was young and he just keeps getting better.”
Buckhannon-Upshur qualified for state with a team runner-up score of 250, led by Evan Coffman and Isaac Lane, who each shot 79.
Following Bilby’s performance, it was Salvatori placing second overall with a card of 76, while Seivertson was third at 78.
Sophomore Gavin Goodrich delivered a strong 81 to help catapult Park into the state tournament, as well.
The state tournament for Class AAA begins Tuesday and wraps up Wednesday at Oglebay’s Jones Course.