The Arab girls golf team is going to the state final four for the second time in the last three years.
The Lady Knights advanced by finishing second Tuesday in the 4A-5A North Sub-State Tournament at Silver Lakes in Gadsden. They, along with first-place Randolph and two teams from the South Sub-State, Northside and Trinity, will play in the State Tournament at Capitol Hill, the Robert Trent Jones facility at Prattville, on Monday and Tuesday.
“Our girls have been battling it out with Randolph and White Plains all season,” Arab coach Emily Stapler said. “Every match and every tournament against them has ended with just a few strokes difference either in our favor or their favor.
“We have known all season it would come down to us three teams at sub-state. Our previous tournaments have allowed us to know we had what it took to finish in the top two teams.”
Senior Grace Narrell led the way with a 75. Reagan Malone shot 85 and Ellie Cothran had a 91. Autumn Tidwell’s 97 did not count toward the team’s final score of 251.
“Tuesday started out as smooth as it ever has,” Stapler said. “We finished the front nine in the lead over both teams. We were paired with Randolph and White Plains since we were ranked the top three teams out of the eight teams that qualified for sub-state.
“The back nine became a bit more of a challenge with a few double and triple bogeys thrown in. The girls had to get past those difficult holes and regroup.
“Grace Narrell had a really smooth, consistent round. Reagan Malone was 4-over on the front nine but had about three bad holes on the back. She managed to throw in two birdies along the way to gain some needed strokes back, with one of those birdies on the final hole.
“Ellie Cothran also had a mostly strong front nine, but had some challenges along the back nine. She was able to keep her composure under pressure on the last two holes to help us take second over White Plains.”
Stapler said she was very proud of her golfers.
“Being in the final four out of all 4A and 5A is a huge accomplishment,” she said. “We plan on remaining focused, having fun and doing our best during the two rounds of golf that will be played Monday and Tuesday.”
Stapler wasn’t alone in her praise of the team. Michael Pruitt, who coached the team until the middle of last season when his health became an issue, also was delighted by the players’ accomplishment.
“Two years ago they made it to the final four, last year they made it to sub-state and now they’ve made it to the state tournament again,” he said. “To make it to the state tournament two of the last three years is very good.
“I’m just tickled for the girls and for Coach Stapler.”
Arab advanced to the sub-state by finishing second in the 4A/5A Section 4 Tournament at Gunter’s Landing in Guntersville the previous Tuesday.