COOKEVILLE — Although the high school golf season teed off a couple of weeks ago, Walker Valley and Polk County traveled to Cookeville Monday for the Early Bird Tournament, which traditionally signifies the beginning of the fall links campaign.
The Walker Valley squads went into the event as the defending champions, but were unable to match last year’s winning totals.
The Lady Mustangs did bring home the second place trophy with a 158 total, which was seven strokes off last year’s pace and eight shots back of the host Cookeville squad this year.
If the Mustangs could have matched last year’s 6-over 286 total, they would have defended their title, but with Clark Melton and Corey Evans now playing on the collegiate level, the horsemen of the north end of the county posted a 300 tally and had to settle for a tie for sixth place in the 12-team field.
Playing against a field full of class AAA teams, Polk County, one of only two A-AA teams, held its own with the Lady Wildcats placing fifth with a 165, while the Wildcats were eighth with a 304.
Individually, Lady Wildcat senior Lydia Triplett earned low-medalist honors in the girls event, firing a 2-over-par 72, while Walker Valley junior Katie Bishop was third with a 4-over 74.
Katie Medley continued her strong freshman season, carding an 84 to round out the Lady Mustang scoring, while senior teammate Brittani Pederson shot an 89.
Sophomore Lauren Passmore added a 93 to the Polk County total.
In the boys’ action, seniors Zach Kilby (Walker Valley) and Evan Ball (Polk County) fired matching 3-over 73s, but both were eight strokes off the blistering 5-under 65 pace set by Siegel’s Arjuna Anday.
Junior Garrett Cantrell added a 5-over 75 to the Mustang tally, while classmates Hunter Carroll and Jordan Leggett both shot 76s. Freshman Dillon Lillard was right on their heels with a 77.
For Polk County, senior Cameron Bean tallied a 75, while classmate Jake Burrows added a 77. Sophomore Michael Rongey rounded out the Wildcat tally with a 79.
“The course was in great shape and we had a nice day to play, with just a little rain on the final two holes,” commented Walker Valley coach Bob Williams. “Overall there were better scores than last year. A lot more scores in the 70s.
“This tournament always gives us some great competition and a chance to see a lot of teams that are in our region,” the Mustang mentor added.
On the strength of Anday’s 65, Siegel claimed the boys championship with a 289 team total, while host Cookeville was second with a 293.
Following in order were White County (296), Coffee County (298), McMinn County (299), Walker Valley (300), Cumberland County (300), Polk County (304), Warren County (308), Oakland (311), DeKalb County (313) and Blackman (314).
Behind Cookeville and Walker Valley on the girls’ tote board was Warren County (159), Coffee County (164), Polk County (165), DeKalb County (176), Siegel (178), Blackman (178), White County (180), McMinn County (190) and Oakland (240).
Walker Valley will return to action this afternoon with a trip to the Dayton Country Club to take on District 5-AAA rivals Soddy-Daisy and Rhea County.
Polk County won’t play again until Monday when 5-AA foe McMinn Central comes to the Chatata Valley Golf Club.
In local high school golf action Thursday, Bradley Central will travel to Springbrook to face McMinn County, while Cleveland will host Ooltewah at the Cleveland Country Club.