PERKINSTON — No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast guns for its 11th region/district title in 12 years this weekend when the Bulldogs play in the NJCAA District D Championship in Amory.
The defending national champions are coming off its 13th MACJC title, won earlier this month in an abbreviated state championship tournament. The Bulldogs led by 10 shots after 18 holes in Raymond before the second round was canceled because of bad weather.
The district title will be decided Saturday and Sunday on a course where Gulf Coast won by 33 shots in the regular-season MACJC tournament at Ackia Golf Club in October.
"I like the golf course," Bulldogs coach Tommy Snell said. "We've had a lot of luck there, actually. We've won several tournaments, even back when I was first coaching, we won a big event up there and beat some good teams when we weren't all that great. There's a lot of good vibrations there."
Brice Wilkinson (So., Madison Central/Madison) and Jon Hopkins (Fr., Hockerill Anglo-European College/Bishop's Stortford, England) shared medalist honors in October, finishing at 5-under. Carter Nicholson (So., Pearl River Central/Carriere) finished tied for third two shots back.
As recently as three years ago, only one team qualified for the national champions, which obviously put a premium on winning. Now, Region 23 will send two teams and the top five individuals who aren't on those squads.
Gulf Coast defeated Meridian by 13 shots in the district tournament last year, setting the stage for a battle to the 72nd hole at the national championship. The Bulldogs won by one stroke in Fairhope, Ala., and they haven't lost an event to an MACJC team this year.
Past results don't guarantee future success, though.
"We'll prepare like normal," Snell said. "I know we've had a lot of success this year, but we'll treat it like we've had no success. That's what you have to do to prepare. All these teams are good, and we have to be the most prepared to win. That's how we approach it."
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