For the fifth time in as many years, the Polk County girls advanced to the Region 3 A-AA Golf Tournament field, along with a pair of their male counterparts.
“We did about as good today as I expected us to do,” declared Polk County head Jason Adams. “I knew our girls had a good shot and I felt that Michael (Rongey) and Ryan (Droke) had a good chance as well. Today was all about advancing to the region. The region is the big deal, because that’s where the state berths are given out.”
The Region 3 A-AA event will be held Thursday back at the Chatata Valley course, with the top golfer froms District 6 A-AA joining with 5 A-AA to vie for one team and three individual spots in the TSSAA State Championships Oct. 1-2 at the WillowBrook course in Manchester.
Playing on their home course, Polk County’s girls shot a 182 Monday, but were edged out for second place in the team competition by just two strokes as Sequoyah (180) claimed the runner-up trophy, while Boyd Buchanan (168) claimed the district title.
“Lauren (Passmore) and Heather (Ellis) played some of their best 18-hole rounds of the season and Emily (Massengill) wasn’t very far behind them,” praised Coach Adams. “All three girls have been right together all season and have been interchanging between the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 spots.”
“We have had either a team of individual in the state tournament in each of the last four years and hopefully we can continue that run,” the Wildcat coach added.
In a show of consistency, Passmore, a junior, shot 45 before and after the turn of the Chatata Valley course for a 90, while Ellis, a sophomore, did the same with 46s for a 92 total. Passmore earned the fourth low-medalist honor and Ellis the fifth. Massengill, a senior, also fired a 46 on the front nine, but slipped to a 51 on the back.
Boyd-Buchanan claimed the 12-stroke victory for the title with Madison Balthrop and Lauren Fowler posting the top two scores. Balthrop earned low medalist honors with an 83, while Foster was second at 85.
Olivia Raper led Sequoyah with an 87, earning the third low-medalist medallion, while Carley Swabe shot a 93.
Earning individual berths in the girls’ region event were McMinn Central’s Mattie Cardin (94) and Ryley Watson (98), as well as Shelby Bales (95), from Silverdale Baptist, Loudon’s Christina Lee (102) and Mattie Sue Nafie (105), from Collegedale.
In the boys’ event, Rongey and Droke claimed two of the individual region slots with an 81 and 82 respectively. Both Wildcats shot 42 on the back nine, but Rongey was one shot better on the front with a 39, compared to a 40 for Droke.
“I was real happy to see Michael and Ryan qualify for the region,” commented coach Adams of the two juniors. “They have had good seasons and been our leaders the whole way.”
Polk finished fifth in the boys team competition as junior Tyler Brown fired a 97 and classmate Dalton Cheatham rounded out the 361 team score with a 101. Senior Will Richmond carded a 108.
Firing a 319, Sequoyah earned top honors with three of the five low scores of the day including Ben Brackett’s 3-over-par 75, and 80s from Kody Hampton and Bryce Mitchell. Derek Giles added an 84 to the tally.
Boyd-Buchanan was the district runner up with a 332 — Jake Wood (80), Trent Mansfield (81), Ashton Evans (85) and Jake Campbell (86).
Third place went to Collegedale Academy with a 338, with second-low medalist Thomas Hayes leading the way with a 78, followed by 86s from Hunter Gascay and Skyelor Black, plus an 88 by Brady Tull.
Joining Rongey and Droke as individual region qualifiers were Silverdale’s Logan Melton, who earned third low medalist with a 78, plus Loudon’s Brett Knowles (81) and Cody Townson (82).
Hixson won both the District 6 A-AA titles at the Moccasin Bend course Monday, with South Pittsburg also sending both of its teams to the region.
The Marion County boys and Van Buren girls teams will also play Thursday in the region event.
The District 5-AAA Tournament will be held Thursday at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay course, with the Region 3-AAA Tournament set for Sept. 26 at RiverWatch Golf Club on Center Hill Lake outside Sparta. The Class AAA state championships will be held Oct. 9-10 at WillowBrook.