Campbell, Warren turn in impressive season on the links
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 7, 2006 1:47 PM
Webster defines consistency in numerous contexts. If he were alive today and watched either Ryan Campbell or Stephen Warren play a round of golf, he'd certainly use the word to describe their effort on the links. The duo plays the game with conformity due to numerous rounds of practice.
Campbell, a graduating senior at Charles B. Aycock, spent last summer re-tooling his game. He improved his strength and conditioning, and enjoyed his most-successful season to date.
Campbell emerged the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference individual champion and fashioned an even-par 71 -- good enough for third overall -- in the N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional. The strong 18-hole round, along with consistent play from his teammates, also helped the Golden Falcons earn a berth in the NCHSAA championships as a team.
Warren leaves Spring Creek as the most-recognized golfer in program history. He earned team Most Valuable Player honors all four years and qualified for the NCHSAA championships -- as an individual -- all four seasons.
"He owns the four lowest-season scoring average records," said Gators coach Scott Hardy. "From the time he was a freshman, he set a new record each year through his senior season."
For their outstanding performances this season, Campbell and Warren have been selected the 2006 News-Argus co-Men's Golfers of the Year.
Campbell, who averaged 73.25 strokes in 16 matches, dedicated himself to becoming a better golfer after his junior season. He played basketball to get in better physical shape and spent countless hours on the driving range.
"I came into the season ready," said Campbell, who is reportedly a "stoic bulldog" on the course. "But I was a little nervous about my game when the season began. I came out of the gate posting good scores, and things kind of fell into place for me as the year went on."
Campbell seized medalist honors in six of seven ECC tournaments and posted an average of 72.1 strokes. While his individual play undoubtedly garnered attention from other teams, Campbell stayed focused on two goals -- an ECC team title and a return trip to the state tournament.
Whenever Campbell entered the clubhouse to report his score after each match, he always asked first-year head coach Jay Westbrook about his teammates.
"Ryan had his personal goals, but he had team goals, also, and these meant a lot to him," said Westbrook. "He was more excited that we won the conference championship than him winning ECC player of the year.
"He is an enjoyable, funny person to be around off the golf course, but when it is time to play, he has a huge competitive streak."
Warren's competitive streak never diminished, either.
One of the best high school golfers to play in Wayne County, Warren had a consistent game from tee to green. He struggled a little with putting and that proved crucial in the NCHSAA 1-A Championships at Siler City Country Club.
After collecting numerous birdies on the first day, Warren toiled through several two-putts on the second day of competition. He ended up tied for seventh overall, but just four strokes behind state champion Johnson York of East Surry.
"There was a little bit of a disadvantage because around here, we play on flat courses a lot," said Warren. "They had been playing on hilly courses and might have had a slight advantage. But, I went out there and gave it my best."
Warren finished second behind Scott Woodard for Carolina 1-A Conference medalist-of-the-year accolades.
"It was fun going out there and playing golf," said Warren, who plans to walk on at N.C. State next fall. "It's a really strong conference and there are really good people in it. We're good friends and it was fun playing matches with them.
"I just played pretty consistent all year."
Webster, undoubtedly, would agree.
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