Haley Ellis drilled an ace off the No. 8 tee to help the Lady Mustangs claim victories over Polk County and Boyd Buchanan in the season-opening match. The junior used a 6-iron on the hole that was playing at 131 yards.
“That’s a great way to start the season,” proclaimed Walker Valley links coach Bob Williams. “We were missing our No. 1 (senior Katie Bishop, who is playing a tournament in Shreveport, La.) but we had four girls shoot in the 80s. Having that many girls playing so well is a good problem (only three players can be used per match) to have.”
Senior Kassie Gregg edged out Ellis by a single stroke for low-medalist honors in the 18-hole event. Gregg fired an 85, while Ellis shot 86 to round out the Lady Mustang’s 171 team total.
Sophomore Katie Medley and freshman Kelsey Cassada were right on their teammates’ heels in carding an 87 and 88 respectively.
“We got what we were looking for — consistency,” remarked coach Williams. “They were good scores and were all grouped together. That’s the kind of play that will help make us better as a team.”
Polk County took second in the three-way meet with a 193 total as sophomore Heather Ellis led the Lady Wildcats with a 93, while junior Lauren Passmore shot 100. Boyd Buchanan shot a 202.
“Heather has been playing well all summer and has stepped up as our No. 1, while Lauren and Emily Massengill (102) are fighting for the No. 2 spot,” expressed Polk coach Jason Adams. “We are going to miss Lydia (Triplett, a two-time TSSAA All-State performer who is now playing at Tennessee Tech), but these girls are coming along and should be competitive with the rest of our district.”
In the boys’ competition, Boyd Buchanan claimed a 337-381 victory over a largely inexperience Polk County squad.
“We only have two guys back that played last year,” related coach Adams. “Michael Rongey and Ryan Droke were our Nos. 3 and 5 last year and have stepped up to become our leaders but the rest of the team is a work in progress.”
Rongey captured low-medalist honors with a 2-over-par 74, to nip Boyd’s Trent Mansfield by a stroke, while Droke shot an 80. Senior Will Richmond and freshman Hayden Darnell added a 112 and 115 to the Wildcat tally.
Tanner Zumbrun added an 85 to the Bucs’ score.
Both Walker Valley teams will be on the links at Black Creek on Wednesday for a match against Baylor, while Polk County won’t play again until Aug. 6 when it makes a trip to Copper Basin.