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Warriors fall just shy against Great Bridge

PORTSMOUTH – Nansemond River’s golf team finished strong on a bright, hot day at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course but it wasn’t enough to overcome Great Bridge in the schools’ Southeastern District match.

Led by Rob Seltzer’s 73 and Lauren Kruszewski’s 74, the Wildcats defeated Nansemond River 307-321.

The loss is Nansemond River’s first out of three matches this season, but it could prove an important result in what teams finish in the top two spots in the district for the two automatic berths into the Eastern Region Tournament.

Warrior head coach Craig Stephenson had this week on his schedule circled even during preseason practices, knowing how it could shape the district race.

If the Warriors could’ve played No. 17, a 552-yard par five, over and over again, they might’ve been in good shape.

Travis Johnson and Shanice Mason, Nansemond River’s lead pairing, both reached the green, clearing the water hazard short of the green, in two shots.

Mason missed a long putt from the back fringe and tapped in for a birdie. Johnson drained his eagle putt, from about 15 feet.

In the next group, Nansemond River’s No. 3 golfer, Griffin Genier, hit the pin on the fly with an iron shot from 120 yards away. Unluckily, his ball bounced about 20 feet away, actually off the green onto the front fringe. Genier made the birdie putt from there.

Johnson was the medalist with an even-par 72, shooting sides of 37 and 35. Mason finished with a 77.

“Both of them were solid all day. They know what’s expected of them,” Stephenson said.

Other than his top two golfers though, it was a struggle with inconsistency. Genier struggled through his first nine holes before shooting two-over par on the back nine to finish with an 82.

The Warriors’ No. 6 golfer, Bryce Strong shot 40 on the front nine but finished with a 90.

Strong, a freshman and a rookie this season to competitive golf, played well Stephenson said. It was Strong’s first time playing Bide-A-Wee.

“He’s exceeding my expectations,” Stephenson said. “What we really need is someone else, someone who’s been here before to step up.”

The Warriors don’t have to wait long to try again, but it’ll be against another top-notch opponent. Nansemond River (1-1-1) faces Hickory at Chesapeake Golf Club on Thursday.