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Cathedral holds off St. Al to win state golf title

NATCHEZ — Cathedral golf coach Kurt Russ had to fight back tears Friday afternoon.

The reality had not sunk in yet, but it was reality nonetheless: The Green Wave shot a 661, clinching the 2010 MHSAA Class 1A state championship at Beau Pré Country Club.

“This is a good group of kids,” an emotional Russ said.

“This is huge, huge for them. No one, including ourselves deep down inside, gave us a chance. It’s like me going out there and beating Tiger Woods. That’s how special it is.”

Rival St. Aloysius was Tiger Woods in this instance, but the Green Wave got the best of the Flashes this time, beating them by six strokes. St. Al shot 667 as a team, and West Union came in third, shooting 724.

“We had three kids today that stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. Avery Middleton was our low medalist and Steve Scarborough was solid for us. Then there was our freshman Kayd Rush, who improved off (Thursday) by nine shots,” Russ said.

“That was his best round of the year, and he was the reason we won. Before he came in, we were either one shot down or tied with St. Al — I can’t remember — but his score pushed us over the edge.”

Middleton finished third overall in individual medalists, shooting 154. Rush shot a 92 on day one, but shot an 83 on day two to tally in at 175 overall.

“This is a pretty big deal for us,” Middleton said. “Our last state championship was four years ago, and the people on that team that graduated kind of put pressure on us to keep the ball going. I’m glad we were able to.”

For Rush, winning a state championship as a freshman is not something he ever would have thought possible to start the season.

“The main reason I came to Cathedral was to play golf, and I never expected to get as far as state, so this is a huge bonus,” Rush said.

“I knew I was capable of shooting an 83, but I knew I’d have to keep my composure, and I did that. I knew I couldn’t let up and let the distractions get in the way of my goal. That goal was to shoot a score that would keep us close with or better than St. Al.”

Middleton said he was pleased with placing third in individual medalists, but added that there were a couple of shots he’d like to have back.

“The first hole on Thursday, I teed off out of bounds, and I triple bogeyed it. No. 14 also got me (Thursday), and today I got two double bogeys on five and six. Take those away, and I win the individual medalist,” Middleton said.

The win was a great way to send off seniors Elliott McCann and Aaron Sandifer, Russ said.

“I talked to them before Thursday and told them this is our shot. You guys haven’t won a state championship yet,” Russ said.

“After Thursday, I talked to them again and said, no one’s giving us a chance, and we have a four-shot lead. I told them, ‘Maybe we can do this.’”

With another Green Wave state championship, Russ said he hopes it will generate interest in younger athletes wanting to play golf for Cathedral.

“Hopefully it’ll make these kids say, ‘Hey, they won a state championship. I’d like to be part of that,’” Russ said.

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