Monday afternoon the two squads showed why as both shot sub-300 scores with a down to the wire 18-hole battle at Springbrook Golf and Country Club.
“It was a great match,” Williams proclaimed. “We shot 5-over (293) as a team, which is good, but not quite good enough, as they had a (3-over) 291.”
“Any other day breaking 300 means a win, but McMinn is always tough, especially up here,” the Mustang mentor commented. “They (McMinn) had shot a 306 in their own invitational tournament last week and cut that by 13 strokes today (Monday).”
After getting edged by a stroke in their season opener last Thursday, the Walker Valley girls were able to get their first win of the young season, dropping the Lady Cherokees by a 164-178 margin.
The Mustang squads will take to their home course at Chatata Valley Wednesday afternoon against county rival Bradley Central, plus Rhea County, in a district tri-match.
Walker Valley and McMinn County will tangle again Monday, along with several of the top teams in the region, at the annual Cookeville Invitational.
Battling the sweltering heat Monday, the Mustangs were led by freshman Dillon Lillard, who blistered the Niota course for a 2-under-par 70.
“Dillon played great, especially for a freshman in just his second high school match,” praised Williams. “What a pleasant surprise he’s been.”
Junior Garrett Cantrell, who was low-medalist in last week’s season opener with a 1-under tally, shot even par (72) on Monday.
The pair were aided by Walker Valley’s returning pair from last year’s TSSAA state tournament squad — senior Zach Kilby and junior Hunter Carroll. Kilby carded a 2-over 74, while Carroll posted a 77. Junior Jordan Leggett fired an 81 in a supporting role.
Playing on their home course, McMinn County was led by Drew Mays, who took medalist honors with a 4-under 68, while Cody Housley also broke par with a 2-under 70.
Will Thompson and Patrick Roby helped secure the Tribe victory with a 76 and 77 respectively, while Will Zabo’s 79 wasn’t needed.
“It’s going to be another tough district race and today really showed that,” proclaimed Williams.
In girls’ play, Walker Valley junior Katie Bishop took her second low-medalist honors in as many matches, firing an 8-over 80.
Her freshman teammate Katie Medley posted the second-best score of the afternoon with an 84, while senior Brittani Pederson shot a 92.
“Katie Bishop did her thing and Katie Medley, our little freshman, had a really good round as well,” praised Williams. “I’m really proud of the way we played on a tough course.”
Skylar Jones and Mason Jewell carded an 87 and a 91 for the hosts.