St. Al golfer Curtis signs to play at Meridian CC

Published 8:05 am Monday, November 14, 2016

Seven years ago, Channing Curtis was a novice golfer who joined St. Aloysius’ high school team to be part of a winning tradition. He wound up writing a few new chapters in the program’s storied history and now will get the chance to do the same for another team.

Curtis, who helped lead St. Al to four consecutive state championships and two runner-up finishes during his high school career, has signed to play at Meridian Community College. He signed his letter of intent about two weeks ago and celebrated with classmates and family during a brief ceremony Friday in St. Al’s library.

“I wouldn’t be here without all the people that came before us at St. Al. What got me into golf was seeing them win and wanting to be a part of it,” Curtis said. “It would’ve been nice to have a couple more (championships). I think we did a good job. We set them up to win a few more.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Curtis still has his senior high school season to play, and one more chance to win an elusive individual state championship. He was second in the MHSAA Class 1A tournament in 2014 and 2015, and sixth in the MAIS Class AAA state tournament in 2016.

He’s won a number of tournaments on the state’s junior circuit as well, and even competed in regional and national tournaments. His success on both levels earned him early recruiting attention from most of the state’s junior colleges, and he stuck with the first one that came along.

It helps that Meridian is one of the best junior college programs in the country.

Two of Meridian’s golfers, Brandt Garron and Jake Stirling, have won individual national championships since 2010, and the Eagles have finished in the top 10 of the team standings at the NJCAA National Championships 12 times since 1998.

Thirty Meridian golfers have gone on to play at four-year schools.
The chance to become part of a winning tradition was as appealing to Curtis in 2016 as it was back in 2010.

“I always wanted to play somewhere in college. I never knew where. Meridian called me my sophomore year, and I committed last year,” Curtis said. “All the junior colleges recruited me. Meridian was the first college that contacted me, so it made it pretty easy.”

Ever since he joined St. Al’s team when he was in sixth grade, Curtis has worked hard to refine his game. He’s spent thousands of hours tromping around Clear Creek Golf Course, and just as many driving to tournaments in far-flung corners of the southern United States.

Amazingly, he’s still found time to engage in other pursuits and hit the books.

Curtis has a 1.2 golf handicap and a 4.0 GPA. He’s scored a 28 on the ACT while also serving as St. Al’s student body president, being a member of its Quiz Bowl team and its chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

For good measure, Curtis has played on St. Al’s soccer and football teams.

“It’s hard. Especially this year, with so much going on. Senior year is hectic,” Curtis said.

Curtis believes the hectic schedule has prepared him for the life of a college athlete. Teams practice or play nearly every afternoon during the season, which forces players to juggle school and sports with little time for much else.

Curtis, though, was eager for the challenge. He’s ready to help Meridian compete nationally both on the golf course and in the classroom.

“Being national champions would be great, and on top of that I can win an academic national championship, which is important,” Curtis said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest