UH shows the way in Watauga

By Matt Hill

   KINGSPORT -- Thursday was a good day for the University High golf team.
   The Junior Bucs took home top team honors, and had both of the top boys and girls individual scores in the Watauga Conference Golf Championship at Warriors Path State Park.
   The tournament was pretty much a tune-up for next Tuesday's District 1-AA Tournament in Mountain City. Judging by this, the Junior Bucs look to be in good shape.
   The Junior Bucs defeated Sullivan Central by 11 strokes to win the title, as they came in with a 313. Russell Ingram won the individual boys championship with a score of 73, while Kyle Kirwin from UH came in second with a 76.
   On the girls side, Rachel Ingram won the title by shooting an impressive 74. That was a 20-stroke win for her.
   Russell Ingram definitely had an impressive round that included an eagle. Still, Ingram thought he could have done a little bit better.
   I could have shot a lot lower than I did, but I'm still satisfied with it," Russell Ingram said.
   As for Russell's sister, she was trying to shoot a better score than her brother once she found out about the 73.
   She came close, but fell just a little bit short.
   "My mom told me he shot a 73," Rachel Ingram said. "I ended up three-putting a hole, and that's where it was."
   Elizabethton and Johnson County also had respectable performances, as they finished third and fourth, respectively.
   EHS' Daniel Sochalski led the Cyclone charge with a 77. That was good enough for third individually.
   Sochalski played well, but thought he could have done some things better.
   "If you hit your tee shots well, this course isn't tough," Sochalski said. "But I started hooking it. I knew I could have been there with a 73, 74 or 75. That was my goal when I came in today."
   Johnson County's Matt Cornett shot a 79 on the afternoon, but he happened to hit the shot of the day if not the year.
   Cornett hit a hole in one on the Par-3 fourth.
   "I didn't know what club to hit," Cornett said. "I didn't know whether to hit a nine-iron or an eight-iron. I was up so I had to hit first. I would have liked to have seen what everybody else hit, but I had to hit first. I chose an eight-iron, and it was a little into the wind. It was drawing left, and it hit about five feet left to the pin. It had some spin on it wherever it was drawing.
   "They said it spun right into the hole. Everybody that was sitting up there, the monitor and everybody, threw their hands up and said it went in. I didn't know if they were messing with me or not."
   Cornett shot a 34 on the front nine, but couldn't keep it up. He said poor putting was partly to blame.
   "I just got to thinking about my putting too much on the back," Cornett said. "I couldn't even make a five-footer."
   Dustin White shot the best round for Happy Valley with an 82. White, who is Happy Valley's most experienced golfer, wanted to do a little bit better.
   "When I was on the range this morning, I thought I was going to play really good," White said. "I was hitting everything solid, and then I got out and started hitting my driver, and I couldn't get consistent all day with it. That kind of hurt me on a lot of the holes where I need to be on in two, and try to putt for birdie. I would lose a stroke, get bogey, and then I could never get it back."
   White will definitely be practicing before the district.
   "This weekend I'm going to try and work on my game a lot, and get some stuff figured out. I know I'm going to have to play really good to get to region. Daniel and Matt Cornett, they're all playing really good. I'm going to have to play good."