It may just be a couple of weeks into the TSSAA golf season, but the Cleveland High girls’ team has established itself as a legitimate state tournament threat.
“The girls are playing very well. They’ve both been in the 30s in both matches this week, which is what we want them to do each time out,” declared CHS coach Nick Cantrell of senior Heidi Barringer and freshman Rheagan Hall. “Heidi and Rheagan feed off of each other, which I think really helps them both play well.”
The Lady Raiders improved to 6-0 on the campaign with a 76-86 victory over McMinn County Thursday at the Cleveland Country Club.
The Cleveland girls have shot in the 70s in three of their four matches (two were tri-matches), with the 10-stroke difference over the Lady Cherokees being their closest competition so far.
In the boys’ action Thursday, McMinn had four players break 40 for a 153-161 victory over the Blue Raiders, who slipped to 4-2 on the young campaign.
Cleveland will return to the CCC links Tuesday when East Hamilton and Bradley Central converge for a three-way match.
Walker Valley will entertain Soddy-Daisy at Chatata Valley Golf Club Monday. The Walker Valley and Bradley matches the last two days were cancelled due to weather-related issues.
All three local prep programs will travel to Manchester to play in the WillowBrook Invitational, which will once again be the site of the TSSAA state tournament this season.
Both Barringer and Hall have a trio of half-round scores in the 30s, plus one slip to the 40s in their four matches this season, but for the second time this week the pair broke 40 together.
Barringer claimed low-medalist honors Thursday with a 1-over-par 37 on the CCC back nine, including the shot of the day when she put her tee shot on No. 17 to within three feet of the hole, then tapped in for birdie.
Hall, who had her second even-par score on Tuesday, came in with a 3-over 39, including a nice up-and-down on the final green for a par.
McMinn got matching 43s from Mason Jewell and Haley Johnson for its 86 tally.
The Cherokees were led by Paul Houk, who matched Barringer’s 37, while Chance Smith added a 38. Tanner Harris and Matt Mays both shot 39 for the Athens’ Tribe.
Breaking 40 for the first time this season, Raider sophomore Allen Swetman turned in the best score of the day with an even-par 36 that included birdies on the final two holes.
Joining the medalist were freshman Drew Linkous with a 41, plus junior Tucker Jones, sophomore Cade Caprara and freshman Chase Oliver each carding 42s.
“Our boys struggled a little bit today with the exception of Allen (Swetman),” commented Coach Cantrell. “He worked really hard on his game the last two days and it payed off today. We are still looking for four players to play well at the same time. Right now we are having a different low man each time out.”