LAUREL FORK — It was not the finish Gate City hoped for, but it was a good finish to a good season nonetheless.

“I think our kids played well and we learned a lot these last couple of days,” co-coach Rhea McConnell said Tuesday after the Blue Devils’ fourth-place finish in the VHSL Class 2 golf championships at Olde Mill Golf Resort.

Gate City shot 354 as a team.

“I’m very proud of them,” McConnell said. “I told them this morning, ‘I don’t know if the Lord cares about who wins this golf match, but I know He cares about the way we act.’ I think they represented themselves well and I’m very proud of them.”

Floyd County took the state title after a 326, and Patrick County’s 335 was good enough for second. King William (342), Gate City, Randolph-Henry (359), Madison County (360), Graham (366) and Mountain View (396) rounded out the team scores.

Bruton’s Dylan Olinger was the medalist after firing an even-par 72.

Wise Central’s Jack England was Region 2D’s top golfer competing as a individual after shooting 82. Marion’s Rylan Sayers had an 85 and Union’s Luke Slagle a 94.


Gate City will lose five seniors — Ethan Dishner, Brevan Spivey, Ben Peters, Zach Taylor and Evan Lane — to graduation in the spring.

McConnell credited the group’s hard work throughout their careers for one of Gate City’s most successful seasons on the golf course, including the program’s first Region 2D championship.

“I’m not going to say we’re not disappointed. We had high expectations. We just got beat by better teams today. That happens in life. I’m proud of them,” the coach said. “And all the parents’ support, the support we got from the administration at Gate City High School. It’s all just been overwhelming.

“The parents and the community, everybody got behind us.”

Dishner, the Blue Devils’ top seed, led the squad with an 8-over 80, a solid score on a challenging course in Southside Virginia.

“I left a few strokes out there, putting-wise, but I don’t think 80 is that bad of a score,” he said. “This course is challenging and it’s like nothing we’ve seen this year. I think we did all right.

“It was definitely fun. We got to play two practice rounds here and we got to play today. You get to meet new people and stuff like that and have fun.”

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