Walker Valley opened its TSSAA fall golf season Wednesday, but not in a way Coach Bob Williams wanted.
“East Hamilton is the team that’s give to give us the most trouble this year and they did today,” commented the veteran coach, who’s teams have been at the top of the District 5-AAA race for the last several years. “We were missing one guy, who was gone to play in a tournament, that could have made the difference, but they (EH) are very tough, so it might not have mattered.”
After Walker Valley nipped the district newcomers by two strokes to win the 5-AAA title last fall, the Hurricanes edged out the Mustangs for second place in last year’s region tournament. The battle between the top programs went to the boys from Collegedale Wednesday with a trio of players able to break 80 on the Chatata Valley Golf Course for a 306-311 win.
The top East Hamilton girl was ill and couldn’t make the match, so no girls match was played.
Walker Valley will return to the links on Tuesday with a trip to Niota to face McMinn County on the Springbrook course, before returning to Chatata Valley to host Notre Dame Wednesday. “McMinn is always tough and we were able to bring in Notre Dame this year, which is one of the top programs in Chattanooga,” commented Coach Williams.
Since classes have yet to start, the East Hamilton and Walker Valley boys played an 18-hole match yesterday.
The visiting Hurricanes were led by the Venable brothers with senior Tucker firing an even-par 72, while his younger sibling carded a 2-over 74.
Tyler Vanzant helped out the winning total with a 79, while Jeremy Kimbro and Chris Turner both fired 81s to round out the East Hamilton scoring. Only one of the 81s were counted in the four-player team total.
Walker Valley countered with an even-par round by recent Cleveland Country Club Men’s and Junior champion Dylan Lillard. The 11th-grader’s 72 tied him with the elder Venable for the low-medalist honors of the match.
Freshman Parker Grey shot an impressive 4-over-par 76 in his first varsity match for the Mustangs, while classmate Nick McCracken made a strong first impression with an 80. Junior Corey Rollins edged sophomore teammate Colton Humberd by a stroke to be the final Mustang score with an 83.
“We have a good young group of players on both teams (boys and girls),” declared Coach Williams. “We only have two seniors, Kyle Limberg and Ira Lee, but we have some good experience back from some of our other players as well.”
“We have good numbers with 11 boys and six girls, so there is good competition among them to push each other,” he related. “We will need to pick it up Tuesday at Springbrook as we’ll be without Lillard, who is playing in a two-day tournament at The Honors Course. We hate to be without these guys, but we encourage them to play in these kind of tournaments. It only makes them better.”