Longhorns advance to reginal

star staff

  MOUNTAIN CITY--Much like many of the matches this season, the Volunteer Falcons found their way to the top while everyone else scrambled around for positions on the bottom.
  Solid team play led to the Falcons' first boys district golf title, at the Roan Valley Golf Course, Tuesday afternoon.
  "They've been playing real solid all year," said Volunteer coach Dennis Anderson. "They came through junior golf and played in middle school, and have been ready to compete at the high school level."
  The young squad took the District 1-A/AA crown by 13 strokes over Sullivan Central, despite a mediocre day from its number one golfer, freshman Carlson Cox, who shot an 84.
  "They are super kids," the Falcon coach said. "They are the doctors and lawyers of tomorrow. This is one of those seasons that make coaching special instead of a chore."
  The best round came out of Volunteer sophomore Tyler Smith, who shot a three-over par 75 on the tough course. Smith birdied the 11th and 18th holes, with a missed chance at an eagle on the final hole of play.
  "I played well today," said Smith. "I didn't hit any bad shots. I just tried to play for pars."
  Smith saw Elizabethton standout Eric Carter's leading score on the front nine and wanted to improve by three strokes on the back to have a chance at winning.
  "I figured if I shot 36 or 37, I'd have a chance," he said.
  Smith's teammate Adam Arnold and Sullivan Central's Patrick Dunford tied for second with a 77 on the day.
  Arnold's tally along with Cox, Smith and Benny Moore (84) gave the Falcons a total of 320, while Central finished with a total of 333 after Dustin Moody's 81 and Bryan Shipley's 84.
  The Elizabethton Cyclones thought they had a shot of making the region tournament as a team, but Johnson County's number five golfer, Nevin Snyder, ruined their plans.
  Snyder shot a team-high 83 to give the 'Horns the number three spot, just two strokes ahead of the Cyclones with 346.
  "I thought we had it," said Elizabethton coach Dave Rider of his team's chances of making Monday's regional event in Gatlinburg.
  Elizabethton wound up in fourth with a 348.
  Carter led all golfers after nine holes with a 37 but fell apart on the back nine with a 43 to finish at 80.
  The senior will still make the region tournament as an individual along with teammate Jared Thomas, who shot an 84. Caleb Tull's 85, Jonathan Crowley's 99 and Jake Thomas' 105 wound out the scores for 'Betsy.
  Happy Valley had a chance at fighting for the third team spot most of the afternoon, but wound up with a total of 364 strokes.
  Warrior Brad Gouge shot an eight-over-par 84 to lead the team and earn an individual spot in the region tourney. Ricky Morgan shot an 86 for the team that had a 91 from Josh Lowe, a 103 from Nate Howell and a 105 from B.J. Townsend.
  The Bulldogs finished things up with a total of 387 strokes on the day.
  Josh Lewis led Hampton with a 90, while Lucas Andrews shot a 93 on the tough up-and-down course. A 100 from E.J. Newbern, a 104 from Caleb Smith and a 128 from Matthew Sams contributed to Hampton's cause.
  Unaka didn't have enough golfers to compete for the team title. Daniel McInturff led the team with a round of 102, while Nick Colbaugh and Josh Lowe each shot a 130.
  Unicoi County, University High and Sullivan North also competed on the day.
  Blue Devil Lucas Woodard (80) and Junior Buc Billy Parrott (82) will also join the individual competition in the smokies.
  As far as ladies action goes, neither of University High's golfers competed due to the fact that each of the area ladies qualify for the region tournament. It allowed Sullivan Central to capture the title at 113 strokes, while Happy Valley came in second with 134 strokes.
  Lady Cougar Leslie Goodman captured the district crown with a nine-hole total of 53, while Lady Warrior Kayla Vestal came through in second with a 59.
  Chelsea Gammon contributed a 60 for Central, Sarah Anderson had a 72 for Volunteer and freshman Sarah Blevins finished with a 75 for Happy Valley.
  Unaka's Sallee Taylor and Unicoi County's Erin Tucker didn't play Tuesday, but are also expected to compete in the region.