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North girls, Peachtree Ridge boys aim at titles

The youngest girls golf team in last year's state tournament is back again. Still young, but back with higher hopes.

North Gwinnett's girls took three freshmen to Jekyll Island in 2005, and now those sophomores have increased the expectations for this year's state tournament, which is held Monday on Jekyll.

The Bulldogs tied for fifth in Class AAAAA last year

and No. 1 golfer Louisa Yang shot 73 to tie for second

individually.

"We certainly would hope to improve on last year," North coach John Payne said. "Last year we did well, but we would like to do better. Now that we've done it before it should help us because we know what it's like down there."

North shot 166 in its tie for fifth, but hope to shoot closer to the 152 (a 71 for Yang and an 81 for Alicia Poole) that gave the team this year's Region 7-AAAAA title. A 152 at state in 2005 would have put the Bulldogs in second place behind Glynn Academy's winning score of 150.

The 8-AAAAA champion Brookwood girls and runner-up Parkview also play in Monday's tourney.

The AAAAA boys competition, also on Jekyll, features Gwinnett teams Peachtree Ridge, South Gwinnett and Brookwood.

The Lions easily had the lowest region score of the county boys qualifying teams at 303, which would have defeated 8-AAAAA champion South by 17 strokes. It's the first-ever state trip for Peachtree Ridge's young program, but the group has high hopes.

Region champion Billy Shida, who won the 7-AAAAA individual crown with a 70, joins Patrick Lovely, Ben Wolfe, Kevin Bennett, Ben Greene and Seth Reeves in a balanced lineup.

"We feel pretty confident we can play with anybody," Peachtree Ridge coach Bert Green said. "We're going down there to win. We want to go have a good time because it is our first time, but we want to go down and compete and play our best."

In AA, the Greater Atlanta Christian boys and girls teams both qualified for state, along with the Wesleyan boys, who won the 8-AA title. The GAC girls also won region behind an 83 from Katie Tufts.

Wesleyan was led at region by Clay Rowland and Pat Steelman. The AA tourneys are on Monday in Vidalia.