Getting in one last regular season match before the District 5-AAA Tournament tomorrow, Cleveland High battled McMinn County Tuesday at the Cleveland Country Club.
In an extremely tight tussle, the Blue Raiders came up just short as the Cherokees claimed a 162-163 win, while the Lady Tribe breezed to an 86-99 victory.
All District 5-AAA teams will gather at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay course Thursday morning to open the TSSAA postseason with the annual league tournament.
Walker Valley is the favorite heading into the district meet, with the Mustangs having posted a 14-1 regular season record, while Coach Bob Williams’ “fillies” won 13 straight matches after dropping their opener by a stroke.
The Cherokees have pushed the Mustangs the hardest this season, with all four of their head-to-head matches being settled by single digits, including a one-stroke Walker Valley win last week at Chatata Valley. The lone Mustang loss this season came to McCallie on the very tough Lookout Mountain course.
“We have some good teams in the district. McMinn has given us trouble for several years and now with East Hamilton, which went to the state (A-AA) tournament last year, it’s even tougher,” commented coach Williams recently. “Bear Trace is a tough, challenging course, so you never know what will happen in a one-day (18 hole) tournament.”
The top three teams and five individuals, not on those teams, will advance to the Region 3-AAA Tournament Sept. 26 on the same course.
In Tuesday’s action at CCC, sophomore Tucker Jones continued his hot streak, leading the Raiders with a 3-over-par 39.
“Tucker has been playing his best golf this season the last few matches,” praised Cleveland coach Nick Cantrell. “Our scores will have to be a little lower if we want to advance to region.”
Seniors Chris Bryant and Conner Caprara helped out with a 40 and 41 respectively, while freshman Cade Caprara fired a 43.
In the girls acton, junior Heidi Barringer posted a 41 for the Lady Raiders, while freshman Shinduri Vijayakuma returned to the course after missing a few matches due to illness and carded a 58.
The Region 3 A-AA Tournament will also be held Thursday at the Chatata Valley Golf Club.
For the fifth straight season, the Polk County girls team has advanced to the region, while Wildcats Michael Rongey and Ryan Droke will also be playing as individuals.