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Steady growth for Eagles on links

Naturally, Prince Edward County High School’s varsity golf team seems different this year without Henry Lutz, the recent graduate who won the 2016 Region 2A East title and Group 2A state championship, but the Eagles returned five players and their entire roster has consistently improved.

“A lot of the players don’t have a lot of formal training,” Prince Edward Head Coach Michael Weaver said. “They’ve only been playing a couple years, but I’m very happy with their progress.”

Individual performances have continued to be the primary benchmark for positive development rather than team performances. Because of the Eagles’ overall inexperience relative to their opponents, they have not been able to be highly competitive as a team.

They finished their regular season schedule with a record of 2-15-1, but they have demonstrated clear evidence that they are on the pathway to challenging opponents as a team.

“Our team dynamic is real good,” Weaver said. “Everybody works together. There’s no drama or anything. We play together. They take direction well, so I’m happy with them.”

Leading the way for Prince Edward has been senior Mark Stanley, who Weaver noted has been the team’s top scorer.

“Mark’s really stepped it up,” the coach said after noting Stanley’s nine-hole average has been about 43. “… His scoring has been really (good).”

Weaver said he thinks Stanley has a chance to make it to the state tournament as an individual.

The coach said that everyone on the team has improved. The roster includes four seniors — William Cheyne, Madison Giles, Aaron Weese and Stanley. There are two juniors, Leland Baldwin and Spiros Reinson, one sophomore, Steven Conwell, and one freshman, Robert Raymond Jr.

“Robert’s been playing since May, and he’s shooting in the 50s — that’s pretty good,” Weaver said.

Though a significant portion of the team will graduate in 2018, Raymond helps show that the Eagles will have a foundation to build on moving forward.

On Tuesday, Prince Edward will host the James River District tournament at The Manor Golf Club.

The Eagles prepared for this event Wednesday with a match against Buckingham County High School and Cumberland County High School at Falling River Country Club in Appomattox.

With the new Virginia High School League (VHSL) alignment, there are 52 schools in Class 2, and they are divided into four regions. Prince Edward is part of the 14-school Region A, and each one of those schools will participate in the regional golf tournament.

Only one team will advance from each region to the VHSL Class 2 state tournament.