It had all of the elements: a historic win, a team with some members who had been together for more than half a decade, an unlikely team leader and a business-as-usual coach who got a little teary-eyed.
This win was a special one for Union.
The Bears posted a team score of 303 — 23 strokes better than second-place Wilson Memorial — to win the first VHSL Class 2 golf championship in school history Tuesday at Lonesome Pine Country Club.
Not only was the win the first state golf championship for Union, but it also was the first state title of any athletic team in the school’s eight-year history.
The victory also marked the first time a Wise County school has won a state championship in a boys sport since the county school system consolidated its six high schools to three in the 2011-12 school year.
Wise Central has won four state titles in girls basketball and Eastside won a softball state championship in the spring of 2012. But until Tuesday, no boys sports team title had been won by a recently consolidated Wise County school.
All seven members of the Union golf team — including Ethan Bowman, who suffered an injury a couple of weeks ago — are seniors.
Three of the seniors —Wes Slagle, Evan Blanton and Cole Stanley — played golf together as a group for six years, including their junior varsity seasons. Matthew Dupree and Nate Cheek were part of the team for three years.
Austin Schlobohm came out for golf in his freshman year and played four seasons with the Bears.
Reminiscing about the players and the years he has been around them choked up Union coach Jerred Chandler, who does usually not show a lot of emotion.
“Yeah, all of them are seniors,” Chandler said, composing himself before going on. “And they’re good kids. Great kids.”
Four Union golfers kept their scores below 80 on Tuesday.
The lowest score came from the No. 1 man on the roster. Schlobohm carded a career-best 73 at LPCC to tie for the lowest score of the tournament.
He said he was nervous heading into the day, but he settled down when he birdied the first hole.
“Because usually I bogey the first hole,” Schlobohm said. “I found my hits off the tee today. In every hole I just kept in front of me and I think that was what did it for me.”
Schlobohm finished his day with three birdies and 10 pars
In the No. 1 spot, Schlobohm might be expected to shoot his team’s best score, but that’s usually not the case, he said.
Schlobohm did not start playing golf until his freshman year. He played as the sixth seed his sophomore, ascended to the fourth seed in his junior year and recently moved into the top seed this year.
Blanton finished with a 74 for Union, Slagle had a 77 and Stanley carded a 79.
FIGHT FOR SECOND
The race for second behind Union was as tight as it could get.
Wilson Memorial shot a 326 to take the runner-up trophy, one stroke better than third-place Poquoson. Defending Class 2 champion Appomattox finished another shot back after at 328.
Strasburg (333), Radford (336), Maggie Walker (346) and Virginia High (346) rounded out the team field.
TIED AT THE TOP
Chatham’s Matt Arnold tied Schlobohm for the lowest score of the day at 73.
In a sudden-death playoff, Arnold bogeyed the first hole, which was good enough to earn medalist honors after Schlobohm struggled with his tee shot.
In addition to Arnold and Schlobohm, Union’s Blanton, Virginia High’s Gavin Austin, Wilson Memorial’s Patrick Smith, Strasburg’s Seth Stickley and East Rockingham’s Alex Czerwinski made the Class 2 all-state team.
VHSL CLASS 2 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Tuesday, Oct. 9
Lonesome Pine Country Club, Big Stone Gap
*Matt Arnold, Chatham — 73
Austin Schlobohm, Union — 73
Evan Blanton, Union — 74
Gavin Austin, Virginia High — 75
Patrick Smith, Wilson Memorial — 75
Seth Stickley, Strasburg — 75
Alex Czerwinski, East Rockingham — 75
Austin Schlobohm 73, Evan Blanton 74, Wes Slagle 77, Cole Stanley 79, Nate Cheeck 87, Matthew Dupree 89.
Wilson Memorial (326)
Patrick Smith 75, Noah Hughes 81, Jacob Sears 82, Ryan Ingersoll 88, Grayson Wright 89, Madison Flint 96.
Josh Brown 81, Drew Parr 81, Nichole Trombetta 81, Layne Sealey 84, Breanna Trombetta 84, Kyle Jackson 87.
Hunter Franklin 81, Dillon Banton 81, Bryant Tolley 82, Braden Drinkard 84, Matthew Napier 96, Gage Franklin 106.
Seth Stickley 75, Austin Stickles 82, Drew Thomas 87, James Burr 89, Satchel Roller 91, Jack Burr 92.
Dylan Thompson 88, Mason Steele 90, Austin Berry 97, Levi Price 97, Noah Thomas 106, Thomas Roark 114.
Maggie Walker (346)
Avery Bowers 80, Lisa Qin 81, Casey Pridgen 92, Eric Hamilton 93, Virginia Adams 96, Cameron Paoloni 97.
Virginia High (346)
Gavin Austin 75, Caleb Leonard 87, Jackson Looney 88, Tyler Fuller 96, John David Moser 99, John Clifton WD.
Matt Arnold, Chatham — 73
Alex Czerwinski, East Rockingham — 75
Grace Gillen, John Battle — 76
Taylor Hubbard, King William — 76
Jacob Carr, Nottoway — 77
Jacob Holley, Chatham — 78
Logan Douthat, Giles — 81
Trey Sparks, Tazewell — 82
Gaines Swink, Madison County — 83
Mason Wyatt, Robert E. Lee — 84
Bryce Sparks, Tazewell — 89
Cole Ligon, Greensville — 90