HARRISON — The Walker Valley golf teams lived up to their “favorites” billing going into Thursday’s District 5-AAA Tournament as the Lady Mustangs earned a “three-peat” while the Stallions edged out the Storm for a two-stroke victory for the league crowns.
“We got four scores in the 70s from the boys and the girls put up their usual, solid scores,” commented WV head coach Bob Williams, whose teams have just one match loss apiece this season.
The Mustang squads, plus a trio of Cleveland High individuals and a Bearette will represent Bradley County at the Region 3-AAA Tournament next Thursday at the RiverWatch Golf Club outside of Sparta on Center Hill Lake.
“We’ve never played that course (RiverWatch), so we’ll go up Wednesday for a practice round and overnight there before playing in the region on Thursday,” explained Coach Williams.
After going 14-1 during the regular season, the Walker Valley boys had to weather the Hurricane from 2012 TSSAA state tournament participant East Hamilton to claim the district crown by a slim 304-306 margin.
“East Hamilton is tough, but our guys put together a strong score and were able to take it (the district title),” remarked Coach Williams. “I’ll take four scores like that any day.”
Super sophomore Dylan Lillard led the Mustangs’ charge with an even-par 72, shooting 1-over par 37 on the front nine, before finishing strong with a 1-under 35 after the turn to earn third-low medalist honors.
Seniors Garrett Cantrell and Jordan Leggett fired 5-over 77s and sophomore Cory Rollins rounded out the winning score with a 78. Junior Kyle Limburg was the fifth Mustang with an 82.
“Bear Trace is a very tough course, so for us to be able to put up scores like this a real accomplishment here,” Coach Williams assessed.
East Hamilton was led by a 2-under 70 by Tucker Venable, who had to win low-medalist honors in a playoff after he called a penalty stroke on himself when his ball slightly moved as he addressed it on the fifth hole.
Logan Price added a 3-over 75 for the district newcomers, while Ian Newman fired an 80 and Tyson Venable added an 81 to cap the Hurricane total.
Ooltewah earned third place and the final team spot in the region event with a 318 total. Danny Gleeson tied Venable with a 36-34 — 70 of his own, but had to settle for the second low medal, while teammates Parker Sammons (80), Logan Grider (82) and Wes Baugh (86) rounded out the Owl score.
Cleveland sophomore Tucker Jones and senior Conner Caprara will continue their seasons after firing a 74 and 75 respectively. Jones’ steady 37s before and after the turn earned him the fifth low medalist score. The other Raider scores included an 83 from Chris Bryant, an 87 from Allen Swetman and a 90 from Cade Caprara.
Also advancing to the region as individuals were McMinn County’s Matt Mays, who also fired a 2-over 74 and Tanner Harris with an 80, plus Brandon Noland from Soddy-Daisy, who shot a 75.
Bradley Central was led by senior Chase Montgomery with an 83, plus an 88 from Tyler Parris. Other Bear scores included Baylor McGowan (90) and Matthew Maynard (96).
Posting a 167, the Walker Valley girls had little trouble in claiming their third straight district title with senior Katie Bishop leading the way with a 39-39 — 78 to earn third low-medalist honors.
Classmate Kassey Gregg and freshman Kelsey Cassada both carding 89s, with Gregg shooting 46-43, while Cassada fired a 44-45.
“Our girls have been steady all season,” praised Coach Williams. “We could only bring three, but we have several other girls who are very capable of posting these kind of scores as well.”
After dropping their season-opening match by a single stroke, the Lady Mustangs reeled off 13 straight match victories during the regular season.
McMinn County finished second in the girls’ race with a 178 tally. Mason Jewell shot an 86 and Haley Johnson a 92.
Soddy-Daisy was third with a 181 behind an 87 from Dallas Young and a 94 by Jayla Sims.
Cleveland junior Heidi Barringer and Bradley Central freshman Olivia Williams earned individual spots in next week’s region event.
Barringer, who has been playing some of the best golf of her career in the last month, earned second low-medalist honors with matching 38s for a 4-over round of 76.
In her first varsity district tournament, Williams fired a 95, impressing some spectators with her distance off the tees.
Ooltewah’s state-tournament veteran Samantha Griffith ran away with the low-medalist honors, with an even-par 72, while Madison Hembree of East Hamilton also advanced as an individual with a 100.