WHEELING, W.Va. - If the Roane County golf team wanted to make a statement, mission clearly accomplished.
The Raiders rode another sterling performance from defending Class AA medalist Alston Spears to shoot the lowest first-day team score at Oglebay Park's Robert Trent Jones Course at the high school State Golf Tournament on Tuesday with a 228.
Roane County was expected to face competition by Ritchie County - which beat the Raiders in the Region 1 championship - as well as Poca and Scott.
The challenge never transpired, with Ritchie County 23 strokes behind in second place and Westside and Scott tied for third 25 strokes back. Poca is sixth with 261, 33 strokes behind the lead. The Dots finished second at the State Tournament the last three years.
Spears shot a 1-over 72 for the best score of the first 18 holes, sophomore Cole Moore shot a 76, brother Cam Moore shot an 80 and freshman Caleb Moore shot an 85.
As for Spears, he came back from three strokes down to win the 2012 AA championship. That won't be necessary today.
"I had a very interesting round today," said the senior, who started on No. 4 and opened with a birdie and an eagle before three consecutive double bogeys. He sandwiched a par on 10 with birdies on No. 9 and No. 11. "You hit some bad shots and this course will bite you. That's the way it is. You hit some good shots, you'll get rewarded. That's just the way it is."
Roane County holds a commanding lead on Ritchie, which only had one player - Riley Allen (79) - shoot a sub-80 score.
Scott and Westside are tied for third with 253 and Poca is fourth with a 261.
The next-lowest score, overall, was 76. In Class AA, Roane's Cole Moore and Westside's Drew Bragg each shot a 76, as well as defending Class AAA medalist Cole Hand of Wheeling Park and Parkersburg South's Alex Schreckengost, also in AAA.
"The putting is what helped me a lot today," Spears said. "I made a lot of putts. But, really, I started practicing on Jan. 12. That's what you have to do, be committed. You put a lot of practice in it and you'll get results."
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CHARLESTON CATHOLIC is well on its way to a third consecutive Class A state title with all four of its players finishing the first day in the top 10.