The new high school golf season started about like Cleveland High coach Nick Cantrell expected Thursday — with a win and a loss.
“We didn’t shoot as well as I thought we would in the boys’ match, but we still won,” stated the Blue Raider mentor. “Our girls are very young (two sophomores, two freshmen) and other than Heidi (Barringer) are very inexperienced.”
The Cleveland boys were able to hold off Polk County by a 172-175 margin, while the Lady Wildcats claimed an easy 89-104 victory in nine-hole action at the Cleveland Country Club.
All four local squads will be back on the links Tuesday with Cleveland hosting Bradley Central and Soddy-Daisy at the Country Club, while Polk will travel to Copper Basin.
After missing a TSSAA state tournament berth by two strokes last fall, Conner Caprara started his junior season with a 2-over-par 38 to lead the Raider victory. Meanwhile, Carson Griffin, the lone senior in the Cleveland lineup, helped out with a 40.
“I expect Conner and Carson to be in the high 30s on a consistent basis this season,” commented Cantrell. “They are our leaders and that’s where we need them to be to be able to compete.”
Freshman Tucker Jones appeared to be about to join the pair atop the team total, but a stumble on the final hole cost him. “Tucker had a 36 going into the last hole, but then took a 10. He was doing great, especially for his first high school match, but then he ran into trouble,” Cantrell explained. “From what I saw from him in practice and middle school, he’s going to be a good player for us.”
Junior Rylan Parker rounded out the winning total with a 48.
Cleveland was without the services of junior Chris Bryant, who was out of town, but is expected to in the starting lineup. Senior Jake Ramsey and junior Drew Adams will also see some varsity play this season according to the Cleveland coach.
The Wildcats (1-1) were paced by two-time TSSAA state tournament participant Evan Ball. The Polk senior earned low medalist honors with an even-par 36 on the CCC front nine.
Fellow senior Jake Burrows helped out with a 44, while sophomore Ryan Droke shot a 47 for the Wildcats. Senior Cameron Bean, who earned medalist honors in Polk’s season opener last week with a 2-over tally, and sophomore Michael Rongey both carded 48s to complete the Polk total.
In the girls’ action, Lady Wildcat senior Lydia Triplett captured her second straight low medal award with a 4-over 40.
Junior Emily Massengill fired a 49 to cap the winning total as coach Jason Adams’ ladies bounced back from a disappointing three-stroke loss last week in the season opener.
Barringer topped the Lady Raiders with a 42, while freshman Lauren Scannapiego carded a 62.
“Heidi is our No. 1 again this year,” proclaimed Cantrell. “She played a lot over the summer, including winning a tournament last week. I expect her to be in the 38-42 range in each match. She has a chance to do well for us over the next three years.”
“All of our (four) girls are going to get plenty of experience this season,” stated the Cleveland coach. “Some of their scores are going to be high at first, but they should start coming down as the season goes along.”