Johnson City Press: Nickels, Skeen lead Science Hill to district tournament romp

Nickels, Skeen lead Science Hill to district tournament romp

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 12, 2018 at 7:23 PM

Gavin Nickels knew the lay of the land Wednesday at Johnson City Country Club. It paid off in a big way at the Large Schools District 1 golf tournament.

Playing on his home course, Nickels shot a 4-under 68 to win individual medalist by two strokes over Science Hill teammate Jackson Skeen.

Their low scores led the Hilltoppers to a 293 team total, which included a 77 from Carter Counts and a 78 from Sean Anderson. It allowed the 'Toppers to easily win over runner-up Tennessee High at 320 and Dobyns-Bennett at 321. All three teams advanced to next Monday's Region 1 tournament at Blackthorn Club.

"It's under the goal of 300, so that was a good day," Science Hill coach Kevin Vannoy said. "Gavin coming in at 68 was good. Jackson was solid at 2-under, then the rest of them, they were solid too."

All of Science Hill's scores were in the 70's or lower. Tarun Hoskere shot a 79 which didn't count towards the team total. The dominating win followed a similar romp by Science Hill at the Big 11 Conference tournament.

Vannoy complimented the team on its consistency throughout the season, while Nickels had his day on Wednesday, shooting a 35 on the front nine and a blistering 33 on the back nine. He made seven birdies on the day, getting a good read on the JCCC greens.

"I was putting the ball very well," Nickels said. "I know some of the other guys were struggling on the greens, but this is my home course and I know the greens throughout the entire course. The other parts of my game didn't look too good on the (driving) range this morning, but it worked out in the long run. I was a little nervous my first few shots, but after that, it was perfect. I didn't let the mental game get to me and that helped."


Isabella van der Biest of Dobyns-Bennett ended with an eagle, same as she did at the conference tournament, to win both individual medalist and lead the Lady Indians to the team title.

She shot a 1-over 73 to finish two strokes ahead of Sullivan South's Kara Carter, who parred the final hole. Dobyns-Bennett won the team competition 153-157 over Tennessee High with Sullivan South third at 165 as all three teams advance to the region.

Katerina Scott added an 80 to the D-B score.


Daniel Boone had two boys' individual qualifiers with Hunter Adams and Casey Whiting. Other individual qualifiers were John Lovelace of Volunteer, Randy Warren of Sullivan East and Drew Creech of Sullivan South.

Grace Smith and Lillian Qin were girls' individual qualifiers for Science Hill. Mackenzie Miller of Daniel Boone, Abigail Delaney of Sullivan East and Kim Gibson of Volunteer also qualified as individuals.

"We were a little disappointed because we thought we could compete to get in the top three teams," Daniel Boone coach Scott Martin said. "But, I'm proud of Hunter. He's worked hard to get there his senior season. Casey is a sophomore who has a great future in front of him. Mackenzie made it in too, so it's good to have three going to the regional."

Johnson City Press Videos