There is no panic at Science Hill after Monday’s second-place finish in the Big Eight Conference golf championships.
Attention is still fully directed at what it will take to get down the road, specifically back to Murfreesboro for a second straight season.
“Expectations are high to get there again,” said head coach Kevin Vannoy. “We have to come to practice every day and challenge each other. I think we’re on the verge of putting it all together.”
Science Hill didn’t do poorly at all in the Big Eight event, which was played at Warriors Path Golf Course in Kingsport. The Hilltoppers shot a 296, but were outlasted by Dobyns-Bennett, which blistered the course for a 289.
“Generally our goal is to shoot under 300, and we accomplished that,” said Vannoy. “D-B just had a great effort.”
It all starts for the Hilltoppers this season with Zach Botts, who was the medalist in the Big Eight tournament. He shot a 70, knocking in a 65-yard shot for an eagle on the final hole to win by one stroke over a pair of D-B golfers.
Botts got off to a little bit of a slow start this year, but Vannoy said he seems to be turning the corner.
“He’s probably one of the better players in the area,” said Vannoy. “His strength is his overall game ... he’s heady around the golf course and manages the course well. He’s not a big guy, but he has great length. He stays out of trouble and gets it done.”
Filling out the Science Hill attack are senior Codie Campbell and juniors Drew Poland, Evan Crigger, Stephen Wang and Andrew Simonsen. Botts, Campbell, Poland and Crigger have state tournament experience.
D-B will be the Hilltoppers’ biggest area threat, but Sullivan South and Daniel Boone could have their say in the district tournament, which will be played Sept. 19 in Bristol. The Region event is scheduled for Sept. 26 in Morristown.
On the girls side of things, Science Hill will take aim at the Big Eight title today at Pine Oaks Golf Course. This year’s team has a chance to make big noise, said Vannoy.
“We’ve had some individual girls make it to the state, but this is probably one of our better chances to make it to the state as a team,” he said. “The biggest thing is staying focused for the tournaments.”
Leading the way is sophomore Allison Woodward.
“She shot well at the state amateur and played in an international tournament,” said Vannoy. “She’s one of the better golfers in the area.”
Helping Woodward out are senior Eliza Chang, sophomore Caroline Rhea, and senior Marsha Girish.
“Eliza came in and worked hard,” said Vannoy. “That put us in position to be really good.”
The Lady Hilltoppers won the Morristown Invitational earlier this year. Among the teams who could challenge them in the postseason are Sullivan South and perennial power Jefferson County.