PARKERSBURG -The hierarchy of local high school golf outside Wood County may have a new resident atop the heap for 2012.
A little more than a week into the regular season and already Roane County has established itself as a legitimate contender in the Class AA ranks.
Not only did the Raiders open with four tournament titles in as many days, but they also placed third out of a field of 23 schools in the first installment of the Top Flite Junior Tour's High School Series at Big Bend Golf Classic - site of the Capital City Classic.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Freshman Cole Moore hopes to lead Roane County to the Class AA State Tournament for the second year in a row.
Last year, Roane County placed sixth in its first trip to the state tournament.
"This is what we've been waiting for- especially after last year when we qualified for state and with what we had coming back for this year," Roane County coach James Kendall said. "The Top Flite Junior Tour series will be interesting. As the season wears on and the kids get better, I think we will be in pretty good shape."
Here is a look at several schools in the Mid-Ohio Valley and what they have in store for the upcoming season.
Returning to the starting lineup are juniors Alston Spears, Hunter Simmons and Forrest Greenlee. Freshman twin brothers Cole and Cam Moore haven't missed a beat making the transition from middle school.
"When this group of juniors leaves, we've got depth still coming from the middle school," Kendall said. "We are looking at a pretty strong team for the next couple of years."
"No one is going to have a pity party for Ted, especially when you play four and count three at the state tournament - I think we will be pretty good," VanScoy said.
Returning letterwinner Sydney Snodgrass begins her junior year. She will be joined in the varsity lineup by freshmen Riley Allen and Ben Knight.
"The hardest part I've had is breaking in a whole new bunch of golf boosters," VanScoy said. "I've had to break in a whole new group and they are doing a wonderful job."
"I think we can be one of those teams in September ... I wouldn't be surprised if we slid into a two seed at regional," Meeks said. "Finishing first may be difficult because Madonna is playing at home, but I could see us making a splash at states."
With 13 members on the roster, the Blue Devils feature a starting lineup of senior Aaron Tice, juniors Robbie Harper and Josh Richard, sophomores Coleman Lamp and Jared Nichols, and freshman Drew Wells.
Last year, the Blue Devils placed third at the Little Kanawha Conference Meet. They have advanced to the state tournament twice in school history - winning the Class AA/A title in 1989 and placing third in Class A in 2008.
"This team is like the one I had in 2006 when they came from nowhere and won the LKC," Meeks said. "They have a lot of potential and if we gel right, we could make some teams worry if we have success.
"Either way, they will gain experience because we pretty much have our core group coming back."
The junior is seeking to make a comeback after missing the tail-end of last season because of a knee injury.
"Corey had physical therapy and looks good to go this season," said Joe Griffith, who begins his 33rd season as head coach at Tyler Consolidated. "Hopefully, the younger ones will improve and Corey will be able to do what he is capable of because he has been a really good golfer. He is one of the better freshmen I have ever had show up."
Terry Jones enters his 14th year as Wirt County's head coach with eight members on the roster.
"I was expecting only three golfers this year - a couple kids decided not to play football this year," Jones said. "We're just hoping to improve."
A total of seven letterwinners are on the 13-member roster when taking into account sophomore Jackie Cunningham, and seniors Bryce Pittenger and Dakota Hoffman. Cunningham will play from the same tees as her male counterparts until the postseason, while Pittenger and Hoffman haven't played since their freshman year.
Pittenger and Hoffman, along with classmate Trent Stanley, are two-sport athletes and will continue to play for Belpre's soccer team.
Now in his sixth season as the golf coach at Belpre, Scott Miller has four sectional titles to his credit. Last year marked his first outright Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division title after completing the league schedule unbeaten at 16-0.
"It's been five years since we've taken a team to state, which is the only time Belpre has done that," Miller said. "It would be fun to do it again. We certainly have the caliber of team to do that."
Emch opened the regular season by placing tied for eighth at the Stonewall Resort Challenge as part of the Top Flite Junior Tour's High School Series.
"Garrett is a very good putter," Magnolia coach Dave Tallman said. "He doesn't hit the ball extremely long, but he hits it down the middle and has a solid iron game also."
A total of 18 golfers are on the roster.
Junior Kyle Postlethwait and sophomore Levi Meadows are the Wildcats' top prospects.
"You can tell Kyle is a natural out there - he is a very good athlete and a pretty good baseball player," Nate Tallman said.
"Levi is young, but he is getting lessons and is definitely passionate about the game. I look for good things from him in the future."