Nanih Waiya claims state golf championship

By Rocky Higginbotham

Winston County Journal

Last week might have been Nanih Waiya’s best chance to win a Class 1A golf state championship in several years, both literally and figuratively.

One year after finishing a distant second to Tupelo Christian Prep School – and one year before the Mississippi High School Activities Association plans to combine Class 1A with Class 2A for a larger field – the Warriors took full advantage of the opportunity.

Nanih Waiya fought through windy, blustery and rainy conditions last Thursday at Big Oaks Golf Course in Saltillo and improved its second-day team score by seven strokes to beat host Tupelo Christian and claim the state championship.

“The team really played well both days,” Nanih Waiya golf coach West Watkins said. “We played in tough weather the second day with the wind and rain but we were able to improve our team score.

“The boys made some great shots when they needed to. They really stepped up to the challenge and earned this championship.”

Sophomore Jake Kight drained a 65-foot putt on the final hole to hand Nanih Waiya the championship, as the Warriors finished one shot ahead of Tupelo Chrisitan.

Kight also earned medalist honors for a second straight year, winning the individual state championship with a 1-over-par total of 145. He shot a 74 last Wednesday on the opening day of the tournament and followed it up with a 1-under-par 71 in Thursday’s brutal weather conditions.

“We are very proud of Jake and proud of all these guys,” Watkins said. “The team played well all year long. They got better with each match and that’s all you can ask.”

In addition to Kight’s medalist performance, Nanih Waiya’s Coley Taylor fired 85-84-169 and Cody Clark shot 88-85-173. Landon Weeks (90-93-183) and Steven Thornton (94-91-185) rounded out the Warriors’ scores for the tournament.

Kight, who indicated he was unaware his team needed the long putt to win, said the team championship was special.

“To celebrate as a team … it’s awesome,” he said. “I missed 3-foot and 4-foot putts all day. To make that last one was huge.”

Kight’s 145 was six strokes better than his nearest competitor. Tupelo Christian freshman Jackson Mills was the state runnerup with a 75-76-151 and his teammate Parker Brooks was third at 79-74-153.