By Kyle LoJacono
Jimmy Stanger wasn’t able to sleep much in the days leading up to regionals, but the Gaither junior golfer said that all changed the night before the tournament.
“I’d been staying up all night thinking about regionals,” Stanger said. “Just thinking about what I was going to do and then the night before I was asleep by about 8:30. I don’t know if that helped, but it couldn’t have hurt.”
Stanger went out and carded a 1-under 71 with five birdies to finish in third place, giving him a berth in the 2A state meet for the first time in his high school career. He was two strokes off the pace of Ridge Community’s Sam Horsfield, who shot the low round of the tournament.
Stanger, who won the Class 2A-District 9 individual championship the week before, said it was nice to have a good round in regionals considering how close he was to advancing last year. He shot a 75 to finish fifth last year, two strokes away from a state berth.
“And my team was two shots away from making states, so it was kind of like if I’d been two strokes better we would have still been playing,” Stanger said. “I’ve thought a lot about how close we were last year.”
Gaither advanced as a team to regionals, but did not qualify for states.
“That was disappointing because I love playing with my teammates,” Stanger said. “I’m home schooled, so playing with my team is really something I look forward too. I wish they were coming with me to states.”
Only the top-two teams and top-two golfers not on an advancing team move on to states. No other area player or team in Hillsborough County qualified for the final.
The 2A boys state tournament is at Mission Inn Resort and Club near Orlando on Nov. 1-2.