Column: Garner a lock for Greater Neuse River 4A girls’ golf title

October 3, 2013 

There’s one more match left in the Greater Neuse River Conference 4A girls’ golf season, but technically the league throne is occupied.

That’s not much of a surprise. The Garner girls – largely thanks to triplets Arianna, Lauren and Nichole Ceyrolles – have won the conference title every year since 2010.

On Tuesday at Wil-Mar Golf Club, Knightdale’s home course, Nichole and Lauren Ceyrolles shot 42 and 43, respectively, to take medalist and runner-up honors. Adding a third-place 44 by Emily O’Neil into the mix, the Trojans (129) cruised to a 12-stroke decision over West Johnston (141) in the match and clinched their fourth-straight league title at the same time.

The win at Wil-Mar left Garner (42) with a 7-point lead over West Johnston (35) in the season team standings. The most one team can gain on another in a single match is 5 points, since the winning team is awarded 6 points and 1 point is given to the team that finishes at the bottom of the pack.

By that logic, Knightdale (19 team points) is a lock to finish in fourth place this season – sandwiched between third-place Clayton (28) and fifth-place Southeast Raleigh (12). Only Rolesville, which trails Southeast by just 1 team point, can make a move in the final match of the season.

Neither East Wake nor Harnett Central had a girls’ golf team this season.

Knights golfers Ivey Brooks and Erin Giunco shot 52 and 60, respectively, on their home turf Tuesday. Knightdale recorded a team score of 174, counting a blind score of 62 to satisfy a 3-golfer requirement. The score was good for fourth place, where the Knights have landed in five of the seven matches this season.

The Wil-Mar match marked the second straight in which every team placed in the same order as the current team season standings. It was the fourth time the teams finished in that order this season.

The final conference match of the season is set to begin at 4 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Pine Hollow Golf Club, Clayton’s home course.

Freshman is impressing

Don’t let the 14-year-old fool you. If she hasn’t already.

Knightdale freshman Aleena Cruz is adding another element of speed to the school that has become known for its fast track runners. But Cruz is setting the pace on the cross country course, where she has proven she can hang with the fastest runners in the area.

Against Harnett Central and Southeast Raleigh in the Knights’ first conference meet of the season, Cruz placed first overall among the girls. In her fourth high school meet, she rewrote the Knightdale High School 5,000-meter record set in 2010 by then-senior Tianna McHenry. Cruz’s time of 21:18 was 29 seconds faster than the previous record.

“She’s definitely raw talent,” said Knightdale coach Mark Batey. “It is very impressive for her age to be able to run that fast. She’s been recognized by other coaches in our conference as having great potential.”

In a Sept. 25 home meet at the new Knightdale Station park, Cruz finished second overall, behind defending conference champion Becky Meshaw, a senior from West Johnston.

With three more years of high school ahead of her, Cruz has plenty of time to chase perfection – and the new school record she set.

“Her biggest thing now is learning how to run – trying to lengthen her running stride and make her a more efficient runner,” Batey said.

Moody: 919-829-4806 or amoody@newsobserver.com

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