Cathedral to compete in state tourney at Beau Pré
NATCHEZ — No matter the sport, Cathedral cannot seem to escape its rivalry with St. Aloysius.
While the baseball team will be busy playing the Flashes Thursday and Friday in the Class 1A South State championship, the Green Wave golf team will also see its rival those same days.
Beau Pré Country Club will play host to the MHSAA Class 1A state golf championship Thursday and Friday. St. Al will be one of several teams the Green Wave will face for the state crown.
“The competition is going to be solid,” Cathedral golf coach Kurt Russ said. “For us to win, we’re going to have to play our two best rounds of the year on both days.
“St. Al has extremely solid players one through five (in its lineup). Other than them, I don’t know much else about the other teams except from the scorecards. Hopefully, we’ll have somewhat of a home field advantage, since Beau Pré is nice enough to let us use their course to practice all week.”
Cathedral senior Aaron Sandifer said the rivalry seems to have taken on a life of its own.
“There’s just always been a little bad blood between us,” Sandifer said. “I don’t know how it got started, but some people just never let it go. We try to keep it down to a minimum as much as we can.”
Still, with the Flashes being the defending state champions in 1A, fellow senior Elliott McCann said he knows what it’s going to take to unseat them.
“It’s going to be tough this year,” McCann said. “Me (and (teammates) Steven (Scarborough) and Avery (Middleton) will have to shoot in the low 80s, and Kayd (Rush) and Aaron will have to shoot in the mid-80s both days.”
Russ said the road to the state title game has not been without its bumps, but he’s pleased with the steady improvement he saw from his players this season.
“This year was more of a stepping stone for us,” Russ said. “We got off to a shaky start in the early tournaments, but we got better after that. Hopefully, everything will culminate with a championship here.”
And Russ said the leadership from both of his seniors played an integral part of that improvement.
“Elliott has been really solid for us, really constant, and that’s helped tremendously,” Russ said. “He played with a 101 to 102 fever in the district tournament. He didn’t have to, but he wanted to show leadership as a senior.
“For Aaron, he’s probably worked harder this season than ever, and he’s really improved with his ball striking.”
McCann said playing in the district tournament with a fever was a case of him not wanting to be denied a chance at a state title.
“It was miserable, but I had to play because it was a shot to qualify for state,” McCann said. “Being sick made it harder to walk 18 holes. I had to keep a ton of fluids in me to keep from getting dehydrated.”
Sandifer said working harder for his senior year came from a desire to benefit the team.
“I needed to step up, because my game hasn’t been that great all the time,” Sandifer said. “I had to try and improve so I can help my team.”
With that, Sandifer said he hopes to have set a good example for the younger players on Cathedral’s team.
“I want them to see that they’re going to have to work their hardest because that’s what it takes to win,” Sandifer said.