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Six from West Forsyth sign to play at next level
West Forsyth
From left, Richie Mohr, Olivia Blakely, Ella Castellanos, Jason Quinlan, Maria Luce, Peyton Balent.

James Hallewell has seen West Forsyth's 18-hole record change hands twice since becoming the boys golf coach. 

The first time was two years ago when Jason Quinlan set the school record with a 67. It happened again last season when Peyton Balent shaved one stroke off the record and set a new mark with a 66.

It was only right that both Balent and Quinlan were together Thursday as six West Forsyth seniors signed to play sports in college.

Balent signed to play golf at Valdosta State, while Quinlan will play at the University of South Carolina. 

Before they graduate, Hallewell wouldn't mind seeing that record change hands one more time.

"I've always said to them, and that was the thing at the banquet, I was like, 'Peyton, you better watch out because Jason is going to be gunning for his record again,'" Hallewell said. "And I told them, 'I'd just like for you guys to shoot, like, a 64 or 65 on opposite days (at the state tournament).'"

West Forsyth won the Class 7A state championship in May with a two-round total of 609, 10 strokes clear of second-place Walton. 

Quinlan shot a 1-over 145 to finish second individually, while Balent tied for third with a 3-over 147.

"It was a lot of fun," Balent said. "It came down to the last five holes, because the last five hole were a really tough stretch. If we could stay a few over par on that for a team, we'd be set, and that's what happened."

Hallewell remembers seeing Quinlan play for the first time when Quinlan was in eighth grade.

He said Quinlan, who won the drive portion of the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National when he was 11, was a natural on the golf course, even at that age.

"You could tell he already had the size of a good athlete," Hallewell said. "Just when he hit the golf ball, it sounded different. You don't have many kids coming in as a freshman, or even seniors, that just have that different sound coming off the club face."

West's gymnastics program had two sign at the ceremony, including Olivia Blakely (Utah State) and Ella Castellanos (Nebraska).

Blakely placed third in all-around last season at the Class 7A state meet, and she won vault at state prelims with a 9.725.

Castellanos finished second in all-around at the state meet, and she won the beam at the county meet with a 9.550.

Maria Luce signed to play softball at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

Luce, one of just three seniors on the Wolverines' softball team, led the team in innings pitched this season, finishing with a 4.00 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 60 2/3 innings. She pitched seven complete games, including one complete-game shutout. 

Luce hit .213 at the place and reached base at a 29-percent clip. 

Richie Mohr has consistently been one of the in the state in the face-off circle for West's boys lacrosse program, and on Thursday he signed to play at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.