The Falcons traveled to Greensboro on Monday for the NCISAA Division 2 Golf State Championship Match hosted at the Players Course at Bryan Park. Heading into the match, the Falcons had already left their mark on O’Neal’s history with a tremendously successful season in which they set multiple school records including a low 9-hole total of 110 (3x – 9-hole scores). History wasn’t finished for the Falcons though, who added a second state championship in the past three years, along with a new school record of an 18-hole low score of 219 (+3) as a team in the state championship match.
The Falcons could not have asked for better weather on a beautiful fall afternoon. After a strong start on the front nine, the Falcons dug in on the back nine. “There was a stretch on the 12th and 13th holes Monday when Audrey made a 25-foot par putt on 13, Maya made an Eagle on 12, Mary and Lauren birdied 13, and Alex made a birdie on 12,” reflects Varsity Girls Golf Coach Jeff Haarlow. “That’s how you go win!” And win they did – the Falcons shot a team total of 219, besting the runner-up Wayne Country Day School by 8 shots.
Individually, Maya Beasley led O’Neal with a season-best 70 (-2). Lauren Kuhn posted her season and O’Neal best 74 (+2) and Alex Lapple posted a 75 (+3). Mary Earhart carded a 78 (+6), which was her best score as a Falcon. Rounding out the individual scores, Audrey Kim posted an 84 (+12).
“What a tremendous ride for the ladies’ golf program! When you set out as a team to win a championship, and you trust the process of reaching that goal, and then you go do it, that is a tremendous accomplishment!” shared Coach Haarlow. “To have four players make the 9-person All-State team, to have four of five players post their best scores as an O’Neal Falcon in the State Championship, and to defeat a very good team three times throughout the season – it makes a for special season and a special group of athletes!”
This team has truly left its mark on history and adds to the strong golf legacy at The O’Neal School. O’Neal began its golf program back in 1974, yet for decades the girls competed on the boys’ team. In 2016, Athletic Director James Franklin began the varsity girls program, which included Nicole Adams ‘20 now playing on the UNC-Chapel Hill Women’s Golf team as well as now O’Neal seniors Kristin Howell and Alexandra Barnwell, Class of 2022. In recent years, the Falcons have had strong showings at the state level earning State Runners-Up in 2020, as well as State Championships in both 2019 and 2021.
Written by Sandhills Sentinel contributor Lulu Brase.