Knights Golf Team Wraps Up Season
The TCHS Silver Knights Golf Team ended their season as they competed in the regional tournament last week, while the middle school team wound up their season without their final scheduled match being played.
Four varsity players made an early-morning trip to the Mingo Bottom Golf Course in Wirt County for the 2019 WV Region I Golf Tournament on Monday, September 30. The Knights were out-classed by the other four teams in the field, as none of the local golfers qualified to go on to the state tournament.
The final day of September was hot and sunny, with temperatures near 90 degrees. Mingo’s various trouble spots spelled trouble for the Knight players throughout the day, who finished in fifth place in the competition. Team scores were: St. Marys – 244; Ritchie – 256; Wheeling Central – 264; Magnolia – 275; and Tyler – 311. Paden City had one player.
For the Knights, freshman Mason Nichols led the way with his round of 50/46=96. Landen Miller, also a freshman, finished at 52/53=105. Senior Anna Griffith ended at 59/51=110, while junior Isaac Melvin had 60/57=117. For Paden City, Will McGinnis had 127.
Qualifying for the WV State Tournament on October 8-9 at Oglebay Park’s Jones Course were the teams of St. Marys and Ritchie. Individual qualifiers included Magnolia’s Trey Blain, who was the overall regional medalist with a nice round of 77 on the par-72 course. Blain has qualified for the state tournament all four years. The other individual who will go on to the state level was Justin Doerr of Wheeling Central, who shot 83 on the day.
Mason Nichols looked back at his round: ” My goal was to get under 90, but I came up short of that. My drives were fairly straight, but I struggled with my short game on some holes.”
Landen Miller was also hoping for better results: “I did not play well at regionals. I started out really bad, and even though things did get better as the day went on, it wasn’t good enough to make it to states.”
“I think that both Mason and Landen will be in the 80s or low 90s next year,” said Coach Joe Griffith. “They are both just freshman and are very dedicated to improving their game. I know that they will work very hard in the off-season to fine-tune their shots.”
Senior Anna Griffith remarked that, “I lowered my score to 110 from my previous time at Mingo, which was 117. So I was happy with that. But I still got into trouble a bunch of places. It’s not my favorite course, and I am kind of glad that I won’t have to play it again!”
The greens at Mingo are in good condition, but Coach Tucker noted that the fairways didn’t help the players. “The dry weather has taken a toll on the fairways, and with the players having to play the ball down, it really affected some of their shots.”
“Mingo is a challenge, to be sure,” said Coach Griffith. “With its water and penalty areas on many of the holes, it’s a good test of a high school player’s skill. And I want to say that the people who run Mingo have been great in working with high school golf competitions!”
The 2019 Knights improved their season record by 18 wins over last year’s tally, ending at 24-52.
Looking back on her final high school season, Captain Anna Griffith reflected that, “The season was good, and I really enjoyed playing with the guys who were on the team this year. They were a good group to be a part of to finish off my seven years of golf.”
The other senior on the team, Gavin Morris, split time with soccer and so was only able to play in a few golf matches. “I am beyond grateful that Coach Griffith and Coach Tucker invited me back to the team this year even though my focus was on soccer. I didn’t get to play in very many matches, but I really enjoyed those that I did play!”
Junior Isaac Melvin was happy with the team’s progress throughout the season: “Finishing off this season with more wins than last year goes to show that our efforts as a team resulted in a positive outcome. I hope that next year we can show even more determination.”
Jackson Kibbey, also a junior, added that, “I was really excited about golfing with the team again this year. I hope that during the off-season other players and I can get together on our own to practice and get ready for next year.”
Sophomore Ezra Reed felt that, “I have improved my skills this year, but hope that I can improve even more next year. The season has been a lot of fun once again.”
Miller was also glad for the opportunity to play: “I just want to thank God for keeping us safe while we played. I know that I will be practicing a lot between now and next season.”
Nichols also commented on his first season of high school golf: “I was pleased that my approach shots have become the strongest part of my game. And I have really worked to be able to hit a draw and a fade when I intend to. I couldn’t do that at the start of the season.”
Jesse Griffith, freshman, simply said, “The season was fun!”
“This has been a great group for Coach Tucker and me to work with this year,” summarized Coach Griffith. “All eight players are top-quality young people that we have been honored to work with.
“Six of our eight players split time with band, soccer or cross country, so their golf skills are perhaps not as solid as they would be if playing golf were their only activity. But they have all worked to improve their golf game this season.
“Next year, we will return a lot of experienced players, and we will also add more talent coming up in 8th grade. Depending on how much they work on their game during the off-season, it should be a great season with some exciting golf to watch.”
The Middle School Golf Team was scheduled to travel to Wheeling last Wednesday for their final match to take on Ohio County and Linsly, but that event was cancelled. Thus, the team ends their season with a record of 2-15.
“We had 12 enthusiastic players,” said Coach Tucker. “And I saw a lot of improvement in their play just since the start of the season. We are looking forward to next year with them.”