Griffith Will Hit the Links for the Hilltoppers in 2020
The only golfer in the history of Tyler Consolidated sports to play all seven years from middle school all the way through high school will now be heading to college to continue her athletic journey.
Anna Griffith, Captain of the Tyler Knights Golf Team, will begin playing for the West Liberty University Hilltoppers Women’s Golf Team when she attends there this Fall. Anna is the daughter of Joe and Colleen Griffith, of Sistersville. Her father, Joe, is the long-time golf coach of the Silver Knights.
“I am really looking forward to playing at the college level,” said Anna. “I think it is a great opportunity to be able to play at West Liberty.”
Anna began her golf journey back in sixth grade, which was the first year that Tyler Consolidated Middle School had a golf team. She is the only player in her grade level who has continued to play golf each year through high school.
Much of that time, she has been the only girl on the team. “When Anna was a sophomore, we were up to three girls on the team,” noted Coach Griffith. “It was nice to be able to take all three to compete in a girls tournament.”
“But the past two years, Anna has been the only girl on the team,” said her coach. “I think it takes a lot of courage for any student to be the only one in the entire school to participate in a given sport or activity. So I really respect Anna for being the only female golfer these past two years.”
In addition to being the first golfer to have played all seven years in middle and high school, Anna was also the first TCHS girl golfer to compete in a state level competition.
“For the past two years, the WVSSAC has hosted the West Virginia State High School Girls Golf Invitational,” said Coach Griffith. “There are not yet enough girls in West Virginia who play high school golf to hold a true high school state championship, but the State Invitational is a step in the right direction. I am really glad to see it is now a reality.”
Anna has also played in a number of all-girl golf tournaments and matches over the past four years. “It’s nice to be able to go to these matches and to the all-girl tournament hosted by the John Marshall coach. I get to play in a group of all girls instead of competing against a bunch of boys all of the time,” said Anna with a smile. “That’s one of the things I look forward to about playing at West Liberty – it will be all ladies on the team!”
When asked about how she learned to play, Anna stated that she has attended the Junior Golf Camps held at Sistersville Country Club, and that she has taken a few lessons, but that mostly she has learned from team practices.
“Just going out and playing both at Sistersville and at a lot of other courses has also been an important part of learning to play,” she said. “I look forward to learning some new golf skills on the college team.”
For all of her high school career, Anna has split time on the golf course with being in the marching band, where she has been the Section Leader for Tenor Saxophones.
Her father and coach is glad that she has been able to do both activities. “She had done great in the band. And obviously, if she had concentrated just on playing golf, her scores probably would have been lower. But for only being able to play a couple of evenings a week, I am pleased with how her game has progressed over the years.”
Assistant Coach David Tucker also has been pleased with having Anna on the golf team for the past seven years. “It’s exciting to see Anna extend her golfing career to the collegiate level. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in her game throughout both middle and high school, and I know that she will continue to improve and do great things at West Liberty.”
Anna will play for Coach Shane Rice, who is the PGA head golf professional at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling. Rice will be in his fifth year as head coach of the women’s team at West Liberty.
The Hilltoppers golf team uses the Oglebay Jones Course as their home base. In his interview with Anna, Rice stated that he expects the girls on the team to practice 10-15 hours a week, and that he really likes to see it when his players spend the time to work on their game.
Rice also noted that probably the biggest difference that players find when they move from playing at the high school level to playing in college is the length of the courses. He stated that girls who are able to hit a long ball have the advantage while playing college golf.
“Throughout high school, when Anna has teed off, she usually has been able to hit it a good distance,” said her high school coach. “This summer, when she practices, she will be working on hitting long drives and also accuracy around the greens.”
In addition to playing golf, Anna will be majoring in English while at West Liberty, with the hope of someday working in book publishing. “I love to read,” she said, “and so I want to major in something that has to do with reading and books.”
Anna will become the third TCHS Knights Golfer to play on the West Liberty University Women’s Golf Team in recent years. She will join former teammate, Cheyenne Morris, who will be entering her junior year on the college team. In most of the matches this past year, Cheyenne’s scores were second lowest among the Lady Hilltoppers. Kellsi Anderson, TCHS Class of 2016, also played on the West Liberty team.
TCHS Athletic Director, Ryan Walton, is pleased to see that Anna will be playing at West Liberty. “Tyler Consolidated would like to wish Anna good luck in her future endeavors as a student athlete at West Liberty University. She has been a good representative for our school, and I am confident that she will do the same for the university.”
Anna recognizes that there have been others who have helped her along the way. “I want to thank both of my coaches, my family, my friends, and people at Sistersville Country Club who have all supported my game.”
As advice for any up-and-coming female golfers, Anna presented a final comment: “Be confident in yourself, even though it is mostly a male sport. You will meet great ladies from other teams who will become your friends over the years. Have fun, it’s just a game!”
Coach Griffith reflected on his daughter going on to play in college: “West Liberty is a good fit for many of our students. It’s not too big, but has plenty of offerings in the way of curriculum, activities and sports. I am glad that my daughter will be going there to play for Coach Rice, and I really look forward to seeing her on the golf course in a Hilltoppers uniform. It has been wonderful coaching her for these past seven years!”