The sun shone brightly with warm, but comfortable temperatures, on the Chatata Valley Golf Club, which is in “great shape,” according to WV golf coach Bob Williams. “You couldn’t ask for better conditions. The course is magnificent.”
Williams watched as his Mustangs opened their 2013 season with a 158-165 victory over the visiting Trojans, but the “fly in the ointment” came in the day’s other match.
“The girls match was close all the way, but we lost by a stroke,” lamented the veteran coach of the 80-81 outcome. “Both girls teams played well and it was good competition, but we came up a stroke shy.”
The Soddy-Daisy girls are 2-0 on the young season, while the Lady Mustangs slip to 2-1 after posting victories over Polk County and Boyd-Buchanan in a three-way meet two weeks ago. Walker Valley had a match with Baylor rained out last week.
“It was a good start for the boys,” declared Williams, who is in his eighth season at the Mustang helm. “Soddy-Daisy in a good team. I told our players the district was going to be tough this year, especially with (2012 state tournament participant) East Hamilton coming in.”
Sophomore Dylan Lillard led the way for the Mustangs Monday, earning low-medalist honors with a 1-over-par 37 on the Chatata Valley front nine.
“Dylan is coming off a strong freshman season and played a lot of golf this summer, doing well on the TGA Junior Tour,” expressed coach Williams.
Senior Jordan Leggett was just as a stroke off the pace with a 2-over 38, while classmates Garrett Cantrell and Hunter Carroll rounded out the Walker Valley tally with a 41 and 42 respectively. Junior Kyle Limburg also fired a 42.
“Leggett and Cantrell have been with our program for four years now and have stepped it up a lot the last two years,” the coach remarked. “Hunter Carroll has come along as well.”
Williams also praised the efforts of Limberg, “who improved a lot over the summer” as well as sophomores Corey Rollins, Austin Norman and junior Ira Lee. “Those guys are having a good competition for the 5, 6, 7 and 8 spots. “We’ve got a good number of players in the program and a lot of interest.”
Walker Valley currently has a dozen players on the boys’ team, plus a half dozen girls, with exactly half on each squad being either sophomores or freshmen. “That speaks well for the future of our program,” Williams related.
Despite being minus their No. 1 player, the Lady Mustangs had four girls shoot in the 80s (18 holes) in the season opening victories and had a similar bunching of scores Monday.
With two-time TSSAA state tournament participant back in the lineup, senior Katie Bishop led the “fillies” with a 3-over-par 39, which was matched by Soddy-Daisy’s Dallas Young for low-medalist honors.
Sophomore Katie Medley and freshman Kelsey Cassada both posted 42s, while senior Kassey Gregg shot 43 for Walker Valley. Only two scores count for the team total in girls’ play.
Jayla Simms gave the Lady Trojans the victory Monday with a 41 total.
“Katie (Bishop) played all over the place this summer in some big tournaments and came in strong for us today,” coach Williams praised. “The other girls gave her some good support, but Soddy’s No. 2 girls just did us one (stroke) better.”
“When you have three or four girls that can consistently score for you, you’re going to do well,” he added. “The bad news is you can only have three in the lineup (per match), but that’s a good problem to have.”
“We know what Katie (Bishop) is going to do. She’s a very hard worker and very consistent. The rest of the girls are also working hard and improving. (Kelsey) Cassada is going to be a player. She will contribute here all four years. She reminds me of Avery (George, the former WV player who is currently playing for Middle Tennessee State University).”
Junior Haley Ellis was in the scoring in the opening match, including nailing a hole-in-one, while freshman Kaylee Gregg has also shown promise.
Walker Valley will make its annual trip to participate in the Cookeville Invitational Monday.