After edging Polk County by three strokes in the season opener last week, the Cleveland boys swept a District 5-AAA tri-match against Bradley Central and Soddy-Daisy Tuesday at the Cleveland Country Club.
“We’re off to a good start,” proclaimed Raider coach Nick Cantrell. “Our top two guys are doing what we expected and they are getting some good from our other guys.”
Cleveland rounded the CCC front nine with a 166 team total, while Soddy-Daisy nipped Bradley for second by a 172-173 tally.
In the girls action, the Bearettes captured their season opener with a 98, while the Lady Raiders (1-2) notched their first win of the season with a second place 104. The Lady Trojans posted a 107.
Bradley and Rhea County will head to the Chatata Valley Golf Club this afternoon to face host Walker Valley. Cleveland will return to action Thursday with a trip to Springbrook CC to take on McMinn County.
Senior Carson Griffin was the only player to break 40 in the nine-hole event with a 3-over-par 39 for low-medalist honors.
Juniors Conner Caprara and Chris Bryant helped out with 41s, while freshman Tucker Jones rounded out the winning score with a 45.
“Carson (Griffin) and Conner (Caprara) did what they do, although the 41 is a few strokes high for Conner,” express Cantrell. “Having Chris (Bryant) back (he had missed the season opener) really helped us. He came up big.”
“Our freshman (Jones) also did well and scored in his second straight varsity match,” the Raider mentor remarked. “I’m really happy with a 166.”
Griffin and Caprara, along with Lady Raider sophomore Heidi Barringer, will be in Ooltewah at The Honors Course today to participate in the TGA Chattanooga District end of the summer season championships.
The trio were part of just four players, from each age division, to advance to the match-play event. The semifinals are today with the championship match set for tomorrow.
“Those guys did great during their summer tournaments,” praised Cantrell, who had to withdraw from today’s match at Chatata Valley because his top players will be gone. “I don’t mind changing the schedule for them to be able to play The Honors. “We’ve got two more matches with Walker Valley and Bradley already on the schedule.”
Bradley’s effort Tuesday was led by senior Matt Whitmire and junior Chase Montgomery, who both carded 41s, while senior Corey Bandy was right behind at 42. Freshman Tyler Parris capped the Bear tally with a 49.
“Matt (Whitmire) and (Corey) Bandy are both four-year starters and Chase (Montgomery) was our only player to advance to the region last year, so those guys are the meat of our lineup,” commented Bear coach Jim Kibler. “Then we’ve got four freshmen (Parris, Baylor McGowan, Matthew Maynard, Riley Branham) and a another senior (Mitch Hutson) , who has only been playing a couple of years, that we will need to step up and be our fourth score.”
“Matt (Whitmire) has grown into his 6-foot-5 body and is swinging the club really well,” Kibler continued. “He’s our No. 1.”
“Chase (Montgomery) is the hardest worker I know,” he assessed. “He’s at the course from daylight till dak working on his game. I expect a big year from him.”
“Bandy is steady. He’s a good kid that tries really hard and normally shoots around 40-41 on average,” Kibler concluded.
In the girls’ match, Bradley senior Sloane Rakestraw and Barringer battled it out for the top spot, with both firing 44s to share low-medalist honors.
Barringer’s round included a birdie on the par-5 No. 1 in which her chip from the bottom of the steep slope leading up to the green hit the flag, leaving her a 10-foot putt to the hole.
“Heidi’s going to be our low scorer each time out,” commented Cantrell. “The course played a little tough today, but she played it well.”
Freshman Lauren Scannapiego rounded out the Lady Raider score with a 60.
Kibler had high praise for his No 1 as well. “Sloane (Rakestraw) is going to take me to the state tournament this year. She’s been a good player all four years and is one of the top players in the district. She’s played a lot of tough competition in the offseason and should have a great senior season.”
Bradley’s only other female golfer is junior Kierstyn Blair, who shot a 54 Tuesday. “Kierstyn just started playing last year and has improved by leaps and bounds,” assessed Kibler. “She’s on the driving range every day. She’s going to be a good player.”
Polk sweeps Basin
The Polk County golf teams traveled to the eastern edge of the county Tuesday to take a pair of matches from Copper Basin in a nine-hole match.
Both Wildcat squads improved to 2-1 on the season as the boys claimed a 166-210 victory and the girls posted an 85-104 win.
Polk sophomore Michael Rongey and senior Lydia Triplett were the only two golfers to break 40 on the Copper Basin course to earn the low-medalist awards.
Rongey’s 3-over- 39 led the 44-stroke Wildcat victory while seniors Evan Ball (40), Jake Burrows (42) and Cameron Bean (45) rounded out the score.
Triplett’s 39 was paired with a 46 from junior Emily Massengill for the 19-stroke victory.
Polk County will take the rest of the week off before joining with Walker Valley in a trip to the Cookeville Invitational on Monday.