TC Golfers Finish Rainy Season
After having four regular season matches cancelled by rain or flooding, the TCHS Knights Golf Team ended their season with a soggy regional tournament on Monday, Sept. 24. Mingo Bottom Golf Course, near Elizabeth in Wirt County, was the site of the regional event, which featured seven Single A teams from Weirton down to Ritchie County.
The two best teams at the regional tournament, along with the two lowest scoring individuals not on those teams, would advance to the WV State Golf Tournament being held this week at Oglebay’s Speidel Jones Course.
Four members of the local high school squad raised their umbrellas and sloshed their way up and down the fairways of Mingo, and then searched for sections of the greens to move their ball to in an effort to find the least amount of water to have to putt through. The rain let up in the afternoon, but the wet course led to high scores for most of the players.
Team scores, counting three of the four players on each team, included: Wheeling Central, 254; and Magnolia, 278. These two teams qualified for the state tournament. Other team scores were: St. Marys, 280; Ritchie County, 289; Tyler, 420; Paden City, 645; and Weirton Madonna with only two players.
Overall medalist for the tournament was Trey Blain, of Magnolia, who was the only player on the day to keep his score under 80. Blain had 79 on the par 72 course.
The two qualifying individuals not from winning teams were Brandon Lawhan from St. Marys, with 88, and Dalton Edwards from Ritchie, with 92.
For the Knights, individual scores were: Gage Potoczny, 131; Haiden Placer, 138; Anna Griffith, 151; and Ezra Reed, 177. The Silver Knights ended the year with a 6-40 record.
“I have been coaching golf for a lot of years, and I can’t remember ever having four regular season matches rained out,” said long-time TCHS golf coach Joe Griffith. “So I suppose that having steady rain and casual water nearly everywhere was an appropriate way to end an unusually wet season. But it sure made it tough on the players!
“One fairly good player from another team topped his first tee shot in the steady downpour and the ball went straight down into the turf right in front of his tee. You couldn’t even see the top of the ball. So you knew there were going to be a lot of plugged balls out there.
“On the greens, the players were allowed to move their ball in a circle around the cup if that gave them a putt with less water to go through, but that often still didn’t give much help.
“Without the usual double-par stroke limit on each hole, there were a couple of players who ended with their score being over 200 on the day. It was a tough day to play golf,” said the coach.
“The match was long and wet, with lots of puddles,” said Knight junior, Anna Griffith.
“My shoes were soaked by the fifth hole, and I lost a lot of balls, like almost all of them! My score was way higher than the last time I played at Mingo, but at least the temperature was good to play in.”
For two TCHS seniors, it was the final match of their high school career. Haiden Placer said, “Even though I did really bad on this course, I still have had a great time with the team over the years and I will never forget it.”
Fellow senior, Gage Potoczny, also reflected on the regional tournament: “I shot a 131 in the rain, which is much higher than I wanted to shoot for my last match as a part of the Tyler Consolidated Golf Team. But it has been a good year and my golf career has been filled with lots of memories and laughs with Coaches Griffith and Tucker.”
The fourth TCHS player at Mingo was freshman, Ezra Reed. “I know I didn’t do very well at Regionals, but I also know that I will get better over the next three years. I had fun and can’t wait until next year!”
The coaches also spent the day out in the rain and puddles, with Assistant Coach David Tucker saying, “We all hoped for lower scores, but considering the weather, we knew the totals would be high. It was a soggy day, but our players kept their spirits up.”
Coach Griffith reflected on the 2018 season: “Our three seniors – Placer, Potoczny, and Mack Gibbs – have been a great group of players to work with. Their scores have usually not been outstanding, but they all three are quality young people that represent some of the best students here in Tyler County. Both Coach Tucker and I wish them great success in their future, and we hope that they will continue to enjoy playing golf throughout their lives.”
Anna Griffith, Isaac Melvin and Ezra Reed are the underclass players who will return for next year’s team, along with three current eighth grade players who will move up next season.
“Anna and Isaac split time between golf and marching band, so they were not able to make it to every match,” said Coach Griffith. “With only six on the team, that sometimes left us short a player or two and we could not count a team score. Ezra has been most faithful as a freshman, considering that he lives 30 miles from the golf course, and he isn’t old enough to drive yet. I look forward to having all three of these players back with us next year.”
The middle school golf team was rained out of both of their matches last week, including their final home match and a match scheduled for Worthington Golf Course in Parkersburg. They rounded out their season on Monday of this week with their second trip to Wheeling Park to take on Ohio County and Linsly.