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Pike Patriots sink state championship

Before the 2008-09 school year began Pike Liberal Arts School had zero state championships to display in the trophy case, but after the varsity golf team snagged the AISA state championship Tuesday the school now has three state titles.

The golf team joins the football team and the JV basketball teams in state championship glory. The squad of Grant Gilbert, who was also the AISA individual golf state champion, Jackson Byars, Ben McKeller, Audie Stell and Stewart Pinckard shot a combined 614 in the two-day tournament for the title.

“I am so proud of these kids,” PLAS head golf coach Jason Ellis said. “Everyone on that team was willing to work hard all year and it paid off with the title.”

The five-man team placed second last year at the tournament and Ellis said that narrow defeat prepared the squad for this year at Cambrian Ridge on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Greenville.

“These five have stuck together the past two years and they got the state title this year,” he said. “They will also be together next year because we have no graduating seniors.”

Each day the Top-4 from each team made up the team score. On day two Gilbert shot a 74, Byars a 75, McKeller a 77 and Stell a 78 for a 304.

The team was tied with Lee Scott after a day one total of 310, but Pike’s two-day total of 614 was better than Lee-Scott’s 621.