By Keeli Parkey
For new head coach Gene Renfro, the first two matches of the season were positive learning experiences for the Unicoi County High School golf teams.
The Blue Devils and Lady Devils opened the season at Warrior’s Path on Aug. 10 against Sullivan East and Sullivan Central. East posted the lowest boys team score with a 165. Central took second place in the team competition with 182.
The Blue Devils finished third with a team score of 247. Junior Ty Thelen led UCHS with his score of 50. Other Blue Devils scores were: Caleb Adkins – 58; Nicholas Hensley – 67; Nicholas Lynch – 70; Noah Tilson – 72; and Andy Cole – 72.
The ladies only played five holes on Aug. 10 with Sullivan East’s McKayla Torbett leading the way with a 29.
For the Lady Devils, Alana Peel and Grace Ann Clark each shot a 33 while Katlyn Higgins shot a 38.
“Going to Warrior’s Path was a good chance to get a solid baseline on how the practices had gone,” Renfro said. “The team saw two different teams, a new course to most of the squad and played in the rain which were all things we cannot recreate in practice. Hopefully, the scores continue to improve this next week.”
The UCHS teams took on Hampton, Elizabethton, Happy Valley and Chuckey-Doak at Elizabethton Golf Club on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
Hampton won the day on the boys side with a team score of 172. Elizabethton took second place with a team score of 201; Happy Valley took third with a 220; and the Blue Devils came in fourth with a team score of 224.
Thelen again led the Blue Devils with a team best score of 47. Adkins shot 58, Hensley shot 59 and Lynch shot 60. Although their scores did not count toward the team total, Tilson and Cole also played at Elizabethton, shoot 61 and 63, respectively.
Happy Valley’s team score of 96 was enough to win the match on the girls side. Hampton took second with a 101; UCHS took third with a 104; and Elizabethton took fourth with a score of 115.
For the Lady Devils, Peel posted a score of 50; Clark shot 54; and Higgins shot 57.
“The match was a positive in a lot of ways,” Renfro said. “Our scores improved from the last time out. … We played in a large event with four other teams which will give us a taste of what the postseason tournaments will be like in the 11-team league.
“We were also able to get out and play after having canceled matches Monday & Tuesday. A new bar was established and now it is time to surpass that the next time we have a match.”
The golf teams are scheduled to face Sullivan South, Sullivan East and Daniel Boone at Buffalo Valley – their home course – on Monday, Aug. 28. They are scheduled to face Science Hill at Buffalo Valley on Wednesday, Aug. 30, and David Crockett Sullivan Central and Volunteer at Buffalo Valley on Thursday, Aug. 31.