After wrapping up the program's fourth NCHSAA 2A Mideast Regional title earlier in the week, Midway golfers Caden Hodges and John Michael Best discuss states.
SPIVEY’S CORNER — John Michael Best and Caden Hodges held the NCHSAA 2A Mideast Regional Men’s Golf Championship trophy Wednesday as part of the Midway baseball team’s Senior Night salute.
The Raiders’ upperclassmen were fresh off a trip to The River Golf Club at Lake Royale, where they helped capture the program’s fourth regional title.
For Michael Best, the tribute was both a celebration and a reminder that there’s still unfinished business.
“Well, I’m really just ready to bring home some jewelry and just win it all,” he said about the 2A state championship tournament next week, marking his second consecutive appearance.
“We’ve accomplished all our goals so far, the only thing we’ve got left is to win states. That’s what we’re going for.”
After rolling through an undefeated season in Southeastern Athletic Conference play, Midway posted a final team total of 329 in Louisburg to blow past second-place Clinton by 26 strokes. All five Raiders turned in top-25 individual scores among the 60 golfers who participated.
Hodges’ 7-over 79 tied for second with junior teammate Logan Atkins. He spoke about the group’s approach this season after its state runner-up finish in 2021.
“We got a different mindset. Last year, it was just kind of playing to not lose. This year, we’re playing to win,” Hodges said.
The four-year team member is set to make a third states appearance, having already won a title his freshman season.
During the state runner-up showing in Pinehurst, Hodges says he took on valuable lessons about playing smarter as a captain, something he hopes to be helpful this time around.
“I learned to be patient, for sure. You can’t rush anything,”
“It’ll all work out eventually ... stick to your game plan. That’s all that matters.”
Michael Best, who placed 16th this week by carding an 88, also felt a bit overwhelmed by the state tourney experience.
“When you’re at states, it’s a whole different environment than at school tournaments. There’s so many people watching you, and you got a bunch of pressure on you – and it’s just a good time,” he said.
Both Michael Best and Hodges added that the practice rounds this weekend are key to title hopes as the group tries to familiarize itself with Foxfire Resort and Golf Club (Red).
Midway coach Glenn Patrick has already committed to making this season his last, giving additional motivation to the team’s veterans.
“That’s my biggest wish is to bring it home for him, knowing it’s his last year,” Hodges said. “Couldn’t be anything better. That would be a great way to end it.”
Kaison Marley rounds out the Raiders foursome in Jackson Springs, where the two-day tournament starts Monday, May 9.
Atkins begins his round first, teeing off at 9:30 a.m., followed by Hodges (9:39 a.m.) Marley (9:48 a.m.) and Michael Best (9:57 a.m.).
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-230-2040.