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Golf program begins at Unicoi County Middle School

The 2019 Unicoi County Middle School golf program includes, pictured from left, back row, head coach Gene Renfro, Luke Berry, Caleb Peterson and Noah Jones; front row, Hayden Hottinger, Kameron Bell, Carson Woodward and Leslie Calain; not pictured, Eli Bratton and Noat Attaway. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Keeli Parkey

For the first time, students at Unicoi County Middle School have the chance to hit the links for their school.

“The program was started to give an opportunity for student-athletes at the middle school level a chance to play a new sport and help build the program for the high school as well,” said UCMS head coach Gene Renfro.

Matches began last month and Renfro, who is also the head coach of the Unicoi County High School golf program, likes what he sees from his Jr. Blue Devil and Jr. Lady Devil golfers.

“(The season) has gone well,” Renfro said. “There has been a lot of learning and improvements by everyone. For the amount of golf played by everyone before the season, the progress has been noticeable.”

Playing for the Jr. Blue Devils this season are Eli Bratton, Noah Attaway, Luke Berry, Caleb Peterson, Noah Jones, Hayden Hottinger, Kameron Bell and Carson Woodward. Playing for the Jr. Lady Devil team is Leslie Calain.

Renfro also said the middle school program will be an asset to the golf program at the high school.

“The teaching of the game at UCMS will help as the student-athletes come to UCHS to play to be prepared more quickly,” Renfro said. “Hopefully, it makes the program better as a whole.”

School officials and a local golf course have been key supporters of the new program, according to the head coach.

“I would like to thank the administration for adding the sport and the Erwin Elks for use of their facilities for practice and matches,” Renfro said.

The next match for the UCMS golfers is scheduled for Thursday, April 4, at Warriors Path.