The O’Neal Lady Falcons added an impressive set of hardware to their trophy case on Wednesday by winning the North State Girls High School Challenge in Lillington.
The field included 23 strong teams from around the state and was hosted at Keith Hills Golf Course. O’Neal played against some of the best high school golf teams, including last year’s defending champions, Durham Academy, and local opponent, Pinecrest High School.
The O’Neal School won by a four-shot margin. In addition to being crowned the overall team champion, O’Neal also secured the individual medalist with sophomore Rachel Joyce, winning by three shots.
Joyce pushed O’Neal to victory with an impressive -4, 67 (par 71) to stamp a personal best in her high school career. Making six birdies and capitalizing on her length off the tee, Joyce put the team in a good position for a strong finish. Joyce was accompanied by some fine scores by the rest of the team, too.
The tournament hosted teams of four players. Of the four players, the best three scores counted. Partnering with Joyce was classmate, Sofi Afable, who continues an impressive fall season.
Afable shot 77 as O’Neal’s second score. Senior co-captain, Lauren Kuhn, and seventh grader, Natalia Henderson, both shot a 78 as the team clinched Wednesday’s tournament with a score of 222.
The tournament is in its 10th year and was hosted by the Tarheel Youth Golf Association and the Peggy Kirk Bell Tour. Scores made at this tournament help girls across the state to qualify for their state championships.
Feature photo: Left to right; Head Coach: John Casson, Sofia Afable ‘26, Rachel Joyce ‘26, Lauren Kuhn ‘24, and Natalia Henderson ‘29. Photo by Wendy Hodges.