Sullivan, Warren Central earn breakthrough victories

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Hartley Sullivan — and the rest of his Warren Central teammates — enjoyed a breakthrough victory on Tuesday.

Sullivan shot a 77 to earn medalist honors, and Warren Central’s boys’ golf won its first team tournament title since 2019 at the Warren Central Invitational at Vicksburg Country Club.

The Vikings finished with a team total of 344, four shots ahead of runner-up St. Aloysius. Clinton was third, at 351, Brandon was fourth at 357 and Northwest Rankin totaled 366 to finish fifth. Pearl (373) and Cleveland Central (451) rounded out the team scores.

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“I felt like we could get a couple of team wins this year. We’ve been close the last few weeks and to get it at our tournament makes it even better,” Warren Central coach Matt Williams said. “Our boys have played well together, and it’s not the same four every tournament we get the top scores from.”

Sullivan is almost always near the top, though, and for once he was at the very top of the leaderboard.

The Hinds Community College signee has produced a number of top-five finishes at tournaments throughout his high school career, but never won one until Tuesday. He finished three shots ahead of St. Al’s Will Keen and Brandon’s Riley Demars.

Keen beat Demars in a playoff to claim second place. Clinton’s Brandon Crisler was fourth after shooting 83, and Pearl’s Will Hayes was another shot back at 84.

“I am so proud of (Sullivan) for finally getting over that mountain. He’s come so close over the last six years with countless second- or third-place finishes and losing by one or two shots,” Williams said. “He had to really bear down and finish his round today. I know it’s a huge weight off his shoulders by finally getting a low medalist.”

Sullivan was the only golfer to break 80 on the difficult, hilly VCC course, but three others from Warren Central broke 90. James McKenna finished sixth overall after shooting an 86, and Evan Farrell tied for seventh with an 87. Lane Gordon shot an 88 to tie for ninth place.

St. Al’s Chase Tucker also shot an 88, and teammates Joshua Larsen and Caleb Tucker were right behind at 90.
Warren Central’s Jackson Lafferty (92), Harber Williams (94), Caden House (97) and Jessie Hallberg (99), and St. Al’s

Thompson Fortenberry (96) were other Warren County golfers who broke 100. Only the top four scores from each team count toward the team standings.

Williams said Tuesday’s team championship was a big boost heading into the postseason that begins next week. Warren Central will host the MHSAA Region 6-6A tournament April 19 at Clear Creek Golf Course. The other teams in that tournament are Northwest Rankin, Brandon and Pearl, all of whom the Vikings beat on Tuesday.

“Our consistency has gotten a lot better and we are feeling good with the way we are playing with a chance to qualify for state next Tuesday at Clear Creek,” Williams said.

In Tuesday’s girls’ tournament, Allie Myers shot a 76 to obliterate the field and lead Pearl to the team championship. Myers bested Brandon’s Ava Abernathy by 20 strokes, and Lily Hartfield was 21 back in third place. Clinton’s Maddie McNeese shot 98 and was the only other golfer to break 100.

Kylie McDowell shot 115 to add to Pearl’s team score, but Myers was so far ahead of everyone else it didn’t matter. Pearl’s team total of 191 was two shots ahead of Brandon’s 193.

Clinton was third, at 202, followed by Warren Central (223), Cleveland Central (247) and St. Aloysius (249).
Frances Thames shot a 109 and Mary Makenna Wooten 114 to give Warren Central its team total. Thames was seventh among 23 golfers in the field, and Wooten was 10th. In girls’ golf, the top two scores for each team count toward its team total.

Warren Central’s other golfers were Kylie Goss at 118, Addi Goss at 119, and Kathryn Wong at 122.
Gracie Griggs shot 123 for St. Aloysius and Lydia Nettles shot 126.

“Our girls had a tough day, but I like our teams having to play the Country Club. It’s a demanding course both mentally and physically. It’s a good test with us preparing for region,” Williams said. “I like our chances of the girls making state. We know that we can shoot the 215 or below qualifying score. We’ve done it numerous times this year. We just need to do it at Clear Creek next week.”

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 139-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.

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