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Fike’s Herring earns Big East Player of the Year honor

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Standout sophomore Fike High golfer Jake Herring established not only one but two records with his scorching round of 9-under-par 63 in the fifth 3-A Big East Conference match at Northgreen Country Club in Rocky Mount earlier this month.

The 63 eclipsed the Fike 18-hole record that had existed for some 17 years. Richie Hunt owned the old standard with a 64 in 2002.

Veteran coaches such as Fike’s Glenn Jones, Hunt’s Tommy Barnes and high school golf coaching legend Jim Boykin Jr. are certain Herring set the Big East record.

Despite considerable research, pinpointing the old Big East standard has been challenging.

Bryson Boyette, now an acclaimed sophomore at Barton College, carded a 3-under-par 68 at Willow Springs Country Club his senior year (2017) at Fike.

To date, no one has been able to validate a lower 18-hole score — until Herring’s 63 — during the Big East’s 10-year history.

Incidentally, the Northgreen course record is a 10-under 62 fired by Rocky Mount’s Graham Campbell in June, 1979.

Even if Herring’s 63 had been the lowest, in the words of Northgreen golf director Randy Davis, it would have not been recognized as the course record.

Davis explained Herring played the forward tees during the Big East match and the course record must be posted from the back tees. Davis said playing the forward tees is not considered as playing all of the golf course.

2019 AWARDS

Herring headlines the 2019 All-Big East lineup with a dandy 68 average for his low five of seven conference rounds.

The final match at Belmont Lakes on Monday saw Franklinton’s Sam Gupton overtake Hunt junior Garrett Johnson for second place. Gupton fashioned an 80.40 average.

Johnson settled for a tie for third with senior teammate Adam Dermer at 81.20. Fike junior Warren Matthews (85.20) placed fifth.

The second five lists Adam Champion of Franklinton, junior Dante Gaetano of Hunt, Josh Miller of Northern Nash, Cameron Whitaker of Franklinton and senior Jubie Moss of Southern Nash.

Garnering the final two slots were freshman Carson Winstead of Southern Nash and junior Clay Williams of Hunt. Williams advanced from the 15th position to 12th the final match.

Runner-up Hunt paced the elite lineup with four selections, followed by Franklinton with three, Fike and Southern Nash with two each and Northern Nash with a lone member.

Herring repeated as the player of the year and Fike repeated as the team champion, edging Hunt by 14 shots. Herring is now a staggering 42-under-par in his last nine rounds.

Honorable mention was accorded Luke Gregory of Fike, Sanjeev Francis of Hunt, Levy Brantley of Southern Nash, Matthew Ray of Franklinton, Chance Puckett of Northern Nash and Kenny Snowden of Rocky Mount.

Teams from Fike, Hunt and Franklinton are headed to the 3-A East Regional after the spring break.

Players not members of the top three teams, who earned regional berths, are Moss and Winstead of Southern Nash, and Northern Nash’s Miller and Puckett.

7TH IN EIGHT YEARS

Glenn Jones is wrapping up his eighth season as the Fike High head boys golf coach.

Jones was given the Big East Conference Champion Coach of the Year for the seventh time in those eight years.

Jones garnered the accolade is only year as Hunt’s head boys coach.

“There are a lot of good coaches in the conference and everybody is deserving of this,” Jones declared. “Without Jake, I wouldn’t be coach of the year.

“But this is a fun group of kids; some just take it more seriously than others.”

Herring was aided by key contributions from Matthews, Luke Gregory and Holden Proctor in outbattling archrival Hunt for team supremacy.

Jones determined his role included keeping Herring focused and spending more time following and encouraging Matthews. Count Jones among the number that notices Herring is tough on himself and sometimes expresses his frustration.

“All the kids are different,” Jones reminded. “But  folks need to understand that Jake is only 15-years-old and he’s going to have temperament issues.”

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