Pack sends three to state

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Washington golfers (from left) Kate Miller, Erica Alligood, Emily Bennett, coach Landon Walker, Warner Little, Katie Tate pose for a picture at Washington High School. (Not pictured is Taylor Abele). Alligood, Miller and Bennet will be playing upcoming NCHSAA 3-A state golf tournament. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The Washington girls’ golf team has made school history as it will become the first Pam Pack team to compete in the NCHSAA 3-A state tournament when it travels to the Longleaf Country Club on Monday for the two-day event.
First-year golf coach Landon Walker promised his team that if they practiced hard and believed in themselves they could make this season a great one and he kept his word as the Pam Pack’s Erica Alligood, Emily Bennett and Kate Miller each qualified for the state tournament after putting forth a stellar performance in regional competition.
“I told them since Day 1 that our goal was to play until they told us we couldn’t play any more and I was a firm believer in them and I think I finally made a believer out of them as well,” Walker said. “We had three qualify for the state at the regional and our athletic director Allison Jones said that this is the first time we’ve made the states as a team. We have had individuals make it before, but never as a team. … There will be 12 teams left in the state playing at the tournament and we’re one of them.”
Alligood, a senior, has been Washington’s No. 1 seed all year and qualified for the state meet by shooting an 89 at the regionals, while Bennett, the No. 2 seed, qualified with a 109 and Miller, the No. 3 seed, shot a 104 to make state.
Walker said a big part of the team’s success has been the leadership provided by all-Coastal Conference players Alligood and Bennett.
“Erica and Emily have been my top two seeds all year and Erica is a senior and Emily is a junior,” Walker said. “They’re very coachable and they are always trying to help others. They will try and help girls who are struggling a little bit and will go out and give suggestions. Coaches love to have players like that.”
Alligood averages a 90 on the season with a low of 86 and Walker said she takes a proactive approach to the game.
“She’s a go-getter. She will play a lot of aggressive shots. Sometimes she scares me a little bit, but she will go after it a lot,” Walker said. “Her strength is in the tee box and she is getting a little better short range.”
Bennett has been hitting in the upper 90s all year mainly because she is one of he most accurate hitters on the team.
“She won’t hit it over the fence but her strength is that she hits it straight,” Walker said. “And she is a pretty decent putter for us.”
Miller has challenged for the No. 2 seed all season and has succeeded on the course thanks to her pinpoint driving.
“Kate does not hit the ball hard, but she will hit it straight,” Walker said. “She’s honestly too small where she can’t hit it hard and get herself into trouble, that’s her strength. She’s very good at limiting her mistakes and when she does get in trouble she can usually get herself out of it.”
When the Pack steps foot on the course at Pinehurst it will already have made school history, but Walker said he does not want his players to be content with that.
“I always anticipate winning. I’m very pleased that we will be one of the top 12 teams in the state but I would like to see us place no worse than sixth,” Walker said. “But our goal is to go out and win.”