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Science Hill romps to fourth straight region title

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 20, 2018 at 8:14 PM

The Science Hill boys golf team continued its romp through the postseason with a fourth straight region championship on Thursday at the Blackthorn Club at the Ridges.

Led by Jackson Skeen with a 3-under-par 69, the Hilltoppers finished 293 as a team to win by 28 strokes over nearest rivals Knox Carter and Morristown West. Cooper Hayes of Carter was the individual medalist with a 5-under 67.

No one could come close to the 'Toppers as a team. They got a pair of 2-over 74 rounds from Carter Counts and Tarun Hoskere, and Gavin Nickels, who won last week's district title, finished at 76, while Sean Anderson had a 79 that didn't count toward the team total. The victory qualified Science Hill for the two-day state tournament in Manchester.

"Jackson came in at 3-under 69, but the other kids battled," Science Hill coach Kevin Vannoy said. "Tarun came in the fifth spot with that 74 and Carter also had the 74. As a team, we're feeling good. We've been consistent as a team, even though the individuals might vary."

Skeen shot a 35 on the front nine and a 34 on the back for his total, which as a result of five birdies. He was very complimentary of the course after the staff at Blackthorn both mowed and rolled the greens.

"I struggled a little on the front nine, but I still played well," Skeen said. "The greens were aerated just a couple of weeks ago, but they were really good, and I enjoyed my putting. I also hit my tee shots well. If we can go under 300 two more times at state, I believe it will give us a chance."

Hayes was one of three individuals to qualify for state along with John Lovelace of Volunteer with a 70, and Jack Tickle of Tennessee High with a 72. Lovelace, a freshman, was excited about qualifying for next week's state tournament in Manchester.

"My irons were really good and I was able to keep it in the fairway," Lovelace said. "I made some putts, but I also missed some or I could have shot a lower score."

Other individuals included Randy Warren of Sullivan East with an 83, Hunter Adams of Daniel Boone, 85; Casey Whiting of Daniel Boone, 91; and Sullivan South’s Drew Creech with a 95.

Now, Science Hill turns its attention to next week after finishing fifth in the state last year.

"We have a short turnaround for Monday's practice round. That 293 should put us in the first group," Vannoy said. "You can't win it on the first day at the state tournament, but you can lose it. This group is a little more mature than last year, so we hope to give ourselves a chance on the second day."

GIRLS TOURNAMENT

Dobyns-Bennett won the girls tournament by six strokes (154-161) over Tennessee High, with individual medalist Isabella van der Biest finishing at 2-over 74. Katerina Scott added an 80, with a 95 by Erin Colhoun not counting toward the team total.

Kara Carter of Sullivan South finished second individually with a 77, while Lily Self of Tennessee High and Gracie Johns of Morristown East each shot 80 to qualify for the state as individuals.

Several played as individuals, including Science Hill’s Lillian Qin (86), Daniel Boone’s Mackenzie Miller (90) and Sullivan East’s Abigail Delaney (93) along with Grace Smith of Science Hill, Kennedy Cowan of Cherokee and Kim Gibson of Volunteer.

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