CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The battle for West Virginia Class A golf supremacy goes through Charleston Catholic, but the most interesting race when the State Tournament arrives in October is for medalist honors.
The sprint to the finish begins today for golfers statewide when the two-month season gets underway before concluding at the 36-hole state championships Oct. 8-9 at Wheeling's Robert Trent Jones Course.
As for the favorite to win small school medalist, well, that's not quite as defined.
Buffalo senior Cory Hoshor took advantage of the second-round struggles of Charleston Catholic junior Christian Casingal - the 2011 medalist - and Irish senior Aaron Persily to win by two strokes at the 2012 tournament.
Hoshor's goal, however, is to go low for the sole purpose of his team winning a title. Any individual accolades that go along with it are gravy.
"We have a good team and I think we can win or at least get runner-up," Hoshor said. "We finished one shot out of second last year and I'd like to help my team win this year."
Behind Hoshor and Bradley Harris - who finished 14th last year - as well as Blaik Caplinger (18th) and Drew Patton (26th), the Bison are hoping to surpass favorite Charleston Catholic and strong contender Madonna.
Hoshor made the cut at the State Open at Parkersburg Country Club (tied for 24th), improving by six strokes from the first to the third round of the 54-hole event. He also is playing in the State Amateur this week where he missed the cut last year.
"At the start of the year, I was playing pretty good," he said. "I played pretty good at some spring events, the Open and stuff like that, toward the end I've kind of trailed off. This week and next week, I'm starting to get my game back."
The two-time defending champion Irish returns Casingal, as well as Persily, who is a three-time All-State player.
Here is a look at some of the top players and teams in each class.
Class AAA - Last season, University ended Wheeling Park's goal of matching Huntington (1997-99) and Hurricane (2007-09) as the only teams to win three consecutive big school titles since the sport was expanded to two classes in 1988.
Despite the loss of Trent McPherson, the Hawks might not be finished. University returns Eric Wirth (3rd in 2012) and Cale Wheeler (4th), giving the Patriots and Hawks four of the top prep golfers in the state.