Reid Darden, who tied for third in last week’s 2A golf state championship at Foxfire Golf and Country Club, and led his team to a second place finish, has been honored by WRAL with the Extra Effort Award.
WRAL’s longtime sportscaster, Tom Suiter, traveled to Clinton Wednesday afternoon to present Darden with the award in front of his teammates, family and close friends.
The award was not just for Darden’s performance on the links, but for his participation in bettering the community and those in need, and for his grades.
“He is somewhere around a 4.4, 4.5 grade point average right now,” said Reid’s father, Andy Darden. “It is so special to me that he is being presented this award. It seems like yesterday, but 32 years ago, Tom Suiter came to Hobbton High School to recognize their team for winning the 1984 state championship, and now, he is here at Clinton presenting my son with the same award. Needless to say, we are very proud of him.”
In last year’s state championship, Darden was unable to finish his round, as a leg injury mid-round eventually suspended his golf game for about six weeks. When he returned, he didn’t see the results he wanted to see, but kept pushing through and working hard.
“After I came back from the knee injury, I was not playing the way I wanted to,” he said. “It took a long time. It wasn’t fun anymore and I was putting way too much pressure on myself. When I decided that I didn’t want to play college golf, I started letting myself have fun again. After that, it was like something clicked in the Hayden’s Journey tournament that I was playing in. I kept that going through regionals and then the state championship. It was kind of like a switch was flipped, and I’m glad it finally did.”
Darden has decided against college golf, and will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next fall. Darden is undecided as to whether he will major in business or pharmacy as of right now.
As for winning the award, Darden was extremely humbled.
“For me to be picked out of all the kids in the state, it really means a lot to me,” said the Dark Horse golfer. “It shows that hard work really doesn’t go unnoticed, and it is really cool to be able to share this experience with my family and friends here today.”
Darden’s days of playing golf in a Dark Horse polo are over, but his accomplishments at Clinton have left a mark that will last for some time, per Clinton head golf coach, Eddie Grey.
“Reid has been a great player here for all four years,” said Grey. “He played hard, played smart, and really always seemed to play the best golf when we really needed it. He was huge for our team throughout the year, and we are really going to miss him as a player and a person next season. He is very deserving of this award, and success is coming his way. He really has a lot to offer the world.”
Reach Adam Capps at 910-214-9585