Staff photo: Manny Fils Eastside senior Savannah Upshaw, right, heads for the 11th tee box after playing a tough 10th hole.
ROYSTON -- The Eastside girls golf team failed to break the 320-point barrier needed to qualify for the Class AAAA sectional, ending its season shooting a 368 at the Region 8-AAAA tournament at Highland Walk Golf Course on Monday.
Although everyone played under the same cold conditions to start the tournament, the temperature made its way up the thermometer. But the winds, like the unending hills, never let up.
"I think the wind played a factor in it and the course itself," Eastside head coach Jay Cawthan said. "It was a very undulating, hilly course. It warmed out throughout the day, but the wind never stopped. Everyone played in it but some girls shot good scores. You can't add the weather as an excuse.
"It was one of the toughest courses we've played all year. Plus, this is the first year we didn't play double par. They had to play it out, so that was different."
The Lady Eagles, who qualified for the Class AAA tournament last season, finished the region tournament in sixth place.
Sophomore Autumn Whiten paced the Lady Eagles, shooting a 114, which was good enough for a 15th-place finish.
"She had a real steady year. She's improved a lot from her freshman year," Cawthan said. "Last year at region I think she shot a 136, so she has improved almost 20 strokes. I'm glad I'm going to have her for two more years. I look for big things from her."
Eastside's only senior, Savannah Upshaw, and teammate Brittany Medlin shot a 127, which put them tied for 27th place overall.
Also playing for the Lady Eagles was Taylor Maddox who, at 143, was in 28th place.
"I'm proud of all my girls, especially our young ones," Cawthan said. "We had two of our four that this is the first time they played in the region tournament. I'm proud of them finishing out. I'm looking forward to next year."
Katie Jane Phillips' low-medalist round of 88 was enough to help Madison County win the region championship and a trip to the state tournament with an overall team score of 287. Also scoring for the Lady Red Raiders with Phillips were Megan Boswell (96) and Anna Tolbert (103). Representing the region at the sectional are Johnson, Gainesville (307) and Lumpkin County (318).