High School Sports

This season’s finest: Independence golfer Parker Melting is a ‘one-woman’ team for Patriots

Parker Melting, Independence Golf
Parker Melting, Independence Golf Courtesy of Jake Michael

Parker Melting, Independence Girls’ Golf: When Parker Melting found out she would be the only girl on the Independence girls’ golf team as a freshman, she admits she was a little embarrassed.

But for the last four years, Melting has not only played as a “one-woman team,” for the Patriots, but also found out just how much it means to represent her school on the course.

“Independence golf means the world to me, and ever since I was on this team, I’ve been working to get the word out and make sure people know about us,” said Melting, a senior referring to herself and Independence girls’ golf coach, Brad Gibson. “Every time we are on the (school) announcements, when they are talking about all the teams, they just say my name (Parker Melting) rather than the women’s golf team. People call me a ‘one-woman team,’ all the time and it’s kind of funny now.

“It’s important for me to keep Independence golf going, I want there to be a team after me.”

Independence girls’ golf coach, Brad Gibson, says he and Melting have embraced being the duo.

“Of course, we both would love to have a bigger team, but we’ve (Gibson and Melting) have gotten attached to being the duo,” Gibson said. “It’s like a red-badge of courage now. When we show up to a match, I just have one (golfer), Parker Melting, a golfing phenom. That’s fine with me.”

Melting is dedicated to her craft as she plays or practices daily, currently working two days a week with the Myers Park girls’ golf team (and Coach Jason Lockwood), two days with Coach Gibson and another two to three days with her father, Derek.

Melting, 17, has had accomplished a lot in her Independence golf career, winning a Southwestern 4A conference championship as a sophomore, while finishing as league runner-up last year.

She also finished in the top 12 at the 4A West Regional in each of her first three seasons.

Melting had a career-best finish at the 4A state meet as a sophomore tying for 12th-place.

Melting, ranked No. 41 in the state according to the Tar Heel Youth Golf Association, also won the prestigious, Pinecrest High School Invitational last season.

Melting, whose favorite golfer is Dustin Johnson, can drive 240 to 250 yards and has three hole-in-ones in since 2015.

But despite her success, Melting says she wants to finish her Independence golf career by “going out big.”

Coach Gibson says he’s never seen Melting more focused than she is right now.

Melting has four of the biggest matches of her high school career in the next month, with the SW4A conference championships, Oct. 10, at the Divide Golf Club, the Pinecrest Invitational the next day at Pinehurst No. 6, the 4A West Regionals, Oct. 16 at Salem Glen Golf and Country Club, with the 4A state championships, Oct. 23-24 at Pinehurst (Country Club) No. 1 (course).

“Parker is a very self-motivated person and I’ve never seen her more driven that she has been this season,” said Gibson, who is a 10-12 handicap golfer himself. “She’s totally focused on going out big.”

Melting’s hard work is paying off as she has won medalist honors (1st-place) in all three of her matches this season, shooting a 37 against Butler at Olde Sycamore Golf Plantation on Sept. 12, a 36 versus Porter Ridge at the Divide Golf Club on Sept. 14, and a 35 in the Ardrey Kell match at Providence Country Club on Sept. 19.

But Melting knows her final month as Independence’s “one-woman team,” will define this season.

“I’m super excited all the big tournaments coming, because I love tournament golf and the whole feeling around those events,” Melting said. “I definitely want to keep the title at Pinecrest (Invitational). It would be huge to win a regional and/or state title, because there are so many good girls out there. It’s so hard to win a championship like that, so it would mean a lot.”

No matter how Melting finishes her time at Independence, she will keep playing golf in college at University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP).

Melting will also study pre-law and hopes to one be a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) lawyer for the U.S. Navy.

Melting is excited about her future on and off the golf course.

Coach Gibson says she will be good at whatever she does.

“One thing I love about Parker is she just tries to be the best Parker no matter what she is doing,” Gibson said. “She could have easily quit play golf at Independence because it was just her. But she embraced the whole “one-woman team,” and kept Independence golf going.

“That’s just the type of person she is. If Parker is going to do something, she’s going to do it well.”

Patty Waldron, Mecklenburg Swim Association, Team Out of My Box: The Mecklenburg Swim Association (MSA) “Team Out of My Box,” led by Coach Patty Waldron, raised $43,225 for cancer research through Swim Across America (SAA), which culminated in an open-water swim at the Lake Norman YMCA on Sept. 23.

Waldron, who is also Charlotte Latin’s head boys’ and girls’ swim coach, was a part of the 22-member, MSA team that raised more money in the Charlotte event than any other participating team. The Charlotte area teams combined to provide more than $150,000 to Levine Cancer Institute.

MSA’s Team Out of My Box, also ranked 18th nationally in funds raised in the 15 other SAA events across the country.

Waldron was No. 1 on her team, raising $12,461 alone and No. 2 overall for the Charlotte SAA event.

Rhea Bhagia and Erica Boyd, Providence Day Girls’ Golf: The Providence Day duo shared medalist honors with Charlotte Latin’s Alexis Sudjianto, as all three golfers shot 39 at the Sept. 21 match at the North Course at Raintree Country Club.

Bhagia, a junior, is averaging a 41.6 per nine holes, while Boyd averages a 42.1 to lead Providence Day this season.

Charleigh Hodges, Lake Norman Girls’ Golf: The Lake Norman shot a career-best (on nine holes), 34 on Sept. 18 at Mooresville Golf Club, to finish as runner-up in a match with Mooresville.

Hodges is averaging a 36.5 (per nine) this season.

Mooresville’s Lauren Martin won medalist honors, shooting a 33 in the same match.

Toni Pineda, Statesville Soccer: The Statesville senior forward had another big week with 10 goals in three, Greyhound victories in a four-day span.

Pineda had all five goals in a 5-2 win over A.L. Brown on Sept. 21.

He also had a hat trick (three goals) in a 9-1 over Northwest Cabarrus on Sept. 18.

Pineda has 23 goals and six assists for Statesville (8-2-1) this season.

Matt Rank, Providence Soccer: The Providence senior sweeper got offensive last week scoring two goals and two assists in two wins as the Panthers (10-0-1, 3-0 in the SoMeck7) remained unbeaten and in first place in the SoMeck7 conference.

Rank had a goal and an assist in 7-0 win over Lincoln Charter on Sept. 19, and a 9-0 victory over West Mecklenburg on Sept. 21.

Ian Bircak, Charlotte Latin Soccer: The Charlotte Latin senior came into last week with just one assist on the season.

But the Hawks’ forward had a game for the ages in an 8-2 win over the Greater Cabarrus Stallions on Sept. 19, scoring two goals and dishing three assists.

Charlotte Latin is 6-6-1 this season.

Brennan Settle, Statesville Christian Football: The Statesville Christian senior quarterback passed for 200 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards in the Lions’ 53-7 win over Asheville School on Sept. 22.

Settle has 612 yards passing and 12 touchdowns and 532 yards rushing and seven more scores to help defending NCISAA Division III, Statesville Christian to a dominant 5-0, as they have outscored their opponents 219-16.

Settle is also strong in the classroom, where he is being recruited for academic and athletic talents by Williams College, according to Lions’ football coach Angelo Cox.

Zoe Weatherington, Charlotte Country Day Volleyball: The Charlotte Country Day junior outside hitter had a big week with 77 kills, 34 digs and four aces as the Bucs won three of their four matches.

Weatherington had 16 kills in wins over Providence Day on Sept. 19, and Wake Christian on Sept. 22.

She also had 19 kills and eight digs in a win at Ravenscroft on Sept. 23, before notching 26 kills and 13 digs in a 3-2 loss at Cary Academy the same day.

The Charlotte Country Day volleyball team (17-3, 4-0 in the CISAA) has won 13 of their last 14 matches.

Lucy Ann Ferguson, West Iredell Volleyball: The West Iredell senior outside hitter had 25 kills, three aces and two blocks to lead the Warriors to a 3-1 victory over Fred T. Foard on Sept. 18, to take over first-place in the Northwest 2A Foothills’ conference.

Ferguson also had 16 kills in a 3-0 win over Draughn on Sept. 20.

Ferguson has 206 kills this season and is closing in on 1,000 kills for her West Iredell career.

Ashley Cruise, Providence Volleyball: The Providence senior outside hitter also led the Panthers (9-7, 7-0) to victories over rivals, Ardrey Kell and South Mecklenburg to take sole possession of first-place in the South Meck 7 conference standings. Providence has now won five of their last six matches.

Cruise, a Marist College commit, had her biggest match of the week with 15 kills, 15 digs, one ace and one block in the Providence’s 3-1 win at Ardrey Kell.

Abbie Wilemon, Davidson Day Volleyball: The Davidson Day junior helped the Patriots to their 8th straight victory in a 3-0 sweep of SouthLake Christian on Sept. 18.

Wilemon had seven kills, nine digs and three aces in the match.

Wilemon leads Davidson Day (17-2) with 60 aces this season.

Emma Goldean, Providence Day Field Hockey: The Providence Day senior has helped the Chargers to an offensive explosion with 34 goals in their last four games.

Golden, an Ohio State University commit, had six goals and four assists in three games this week.

She had the game-winning to teammate, Laney Diehl in 4-2, comeback victory over Cary Academy on Sept. 22.

Goldean, who has 12 goals and 11 assists this season, also had with three scores each in wins over Covenant Day on Sept. 19, and Ravenscroft on Sept. 23.

Carter Murr, Charlotte Country Day Field Hockey: The Charlotte Country Day freshman is making an immediate impact for the Bucs’ field hockey team.

Murr, one of two freshman to make the Charlotte Country Day (7-3-1) varsity squad, has a team-best seven goals this season.

Murr had two goals in the Bucs’ 5-1 win over Ravenscroft on Sept. 22.

One day later, Murr had another goal in Country Day’s 7-0 win over Cary Academy.

Kayla Dacur, Independence Girls’ Tennis: The Independence junior stepped for the Patriots playing No. 1 singles against East Mecklenburg on Sept. 19.

Dacur, who usually play No. 3 singles’, won her singles’ match 6-1, 6-1 against East Mecklenburg, and then won on the No. 1 doubles’ line with teammate, Allison Lindsay, 10-2, in the same match.

Dacur is 7-4 in singles’ play this season, and 7-3 in doubles for the Patriots.

Noah Dolhare, Providence Day Cross Country: The Providence Day senior set his personal-best for the second week in a row, running a 15:36.52 to win the Hare and Hounds’ Invitational at McAlpine Creek Park on Sept. 23.

Dolhare bested her personal-record by nearly 12 seconds after running a 15:48.40 at the Adidas Cross Country Challenge on Sept. 16.

Dolhare’s top time is the No. 1 amongst Observer area’s runners and No. 7 in the state this season.

Keegan Lisiecki, United Faith Cross Country: The United Faith 8th-grader won the first varsity race of her career at the North Hills’ Invitational on Sept. 18, running a school-record for boys and girls 23:43.

Lisiecki is a big part of a United Faith cross country program that is rebuilding after starting last season with only three runners.

This season’s finest highlights high school athletes with outstanding performances. Information published today includes statistics through Sept. 24.

Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: edwardswork23@gmail.com.