Gray Stone’s Griggs claims 1A women’s golf individual title

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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In recent history, the Gray Stone women’s golf team has enjoyed success, having had success in conference play and winning the 2018 1A/2A state title.

One achievement the program had not yet accomplished happened Tuesday when one of the team’s golfers, Katelyn Griggs, won an individual state title.

Griggs, who was on the title winning team as a freshman in 2018, shot rounds of 74 and 79 for a total of 153 at the 36-hole 1A/2A state championship meet at Longleaf Golf and Family Club in Southern Pines.

Finishing with a +7 for the day, Griggs beat Hayesville’s Madison Logan by three strokes, with Jenna Rutledge of East Carteret and Kirstyn Page of West Stokes tying for third at +17.

As a team, the Knights finished fourth at +124 overall. Newton-Conover won the state title with a +104, with Raleigh Charter (+120) in second place and Pine Lake Prep (+122) third.

Her state title win wrapped up another strong season for the Knights, who were the Yadkin Valley Conference team champions and won the 1A/2A Central Regional title. Griggs also was the overall medalist this season in the YVC along with claiming medalist honors at regionals.

The senior said the season was special with three seniors including herself, her sister Sydney and Illa Kuleba, and three freshmen, Allison Frey, Grace Burris and Hannah Lineberry.

“That just made (the season) more special having them because I wouldn’t want to share any of it with anyone else,” Griggs said.

At this week’s state finals, Lineberry finished tied for 35th with a 194 followed on the Knights by Frey (58th – 213) and Kuleba (65th-220).

The mental part of the game, she said, is not her strongest part, saying she has to battle out there the whole time.

“I’m just trying to give myself as much confidence as possible. I’m just not really thinking about those bad shots or things that happened in the past…I’m just telling myself I can do it,” Griggs said.

She credited her coaches through the years in helping her with her consistent striking of the golf ball, mentioning her head coach, Michael Phillips.

“I practice all the time, so it just came from hard work,” she said.

Griggs also gave the credit to her teammates and coach, saying “they’re such a big part of it. I really couldn’t have done it without them.”

Phillips said in the six years he has coached women’s golf at Gray Stone, this season’s team “had the best team dynamic, and I’ve had some good teams in the past.”

The coach also said the Knights worked as a team all season, adding “they would go out and encourage each other. If someone went out and had a bad day, (they said), ‘It was OK. They had a bad day. We’ll go out and get the next one.'”

Referring to Griggs, Phillips said she is the best player he has ever seen at Gray Stone.

“She has it all. She has a mental game. She has a physical game. She works at it,” Phillips said.

Having been around golf since he was 8, Phillips, now 50, said Griggs was in the top 10 of the best players he has ever seen.

Regarding the finals, Griggs said the course played to her strength of being able to hit fairways.

“This course, you really have to learn how to place the ball. It comes from just knowing where to hit it and knowing your own game,” she said.

Thinking about the role models she had when Gray Stone won the state title, Griggs said they were amazing.

“I think they really helped build my character and helped me as a golfer in every way,” Griggs said.

The senior has not chosen where she wants to play college golf next year, but she said she wants to play at the next level “to see if I have the ability to go further with (the game).”

But right now, she is all about learning more about golf and continuing to improve.”

“I really do love this game.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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