CONFERENCE CHAMP

Croatan wins its third consecutive conference championship. Members of the team are, left to right, Nate Harpine, Lane Sweaney, Casey Gibson, Nathan Watson, Dominic Metcalf, William Rueh and Ethan Ebonez. (Contributed photo)

OCEAN — The Croatan boys golf team captured its third consecutive conference title in undefeated fashion this spring.

The Cougars, who won the inaugural 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference title last season without a loss, again went undefeated in league play.

They were dominant, averaging a 370.3 score. Lejeune was the runner-up with a 413.6 average. The Cougars beat the Devil Pups by 303 total strokes.

Last year, they defeated league runner-up East Carteret by 462 shots.

Croatan also went undefeated in 2017 in the final year of the 2A East Central Conference. That was the first league crown for the squad in 13 years. The squad won that championship by 190 shots.

Croatan took the top three spots in the individual standings and four of the top five. Nathan Watson edged teammate Casey Gibson with a 530 score in six matches. Gibson put up a 535. William Rueh was third with a 562.

Trask’s Cory Norris finished fourth with a 585 score, followed by the Cougars’ Lane Sweaney with a 600.

The Cougars will next take part in the 2A east regional on May 6-7 at Wedgewood Golf Course in Wilson.

East Carteret received a couple of bad breaks this season. The Mariners placed third in the league with a 452.5 average, followed by Dixon with a 455.3.

However, the Coastal 8 receives just one regional bid for its 1A teams and two for its 2A teams, meaning despite finishing ahead of Dixon, the Bulldogs will advance to the 2A east regional while the Mariners will stay home. Lejeune earned the lone 1A bid for the east regional.

East Carteret’s Riley Morris also failed to qualify for the 1A east regional despite finishing in the top three of the standings. The top six scorers in the league who aren’t on a regional qualifying team are eligible for regional play but they must play in six of the seven conference matches. Morris missed the first two matches of the season after foot surgery and was ineligible after playing in five.

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