Hitting the Links: SSHS golf teams in opening action

From Staff Reports

Feb. 22, 2008 - Both SSHS boys and girls golf teams were in opening-tournament action this week, and each coach said the players settled in once they got over their initial nervousness.

The boys finished tied for seventh in a 14-team field at Mount Pleasant, while the girls turned in a second-place finish at McKinney.

Boys

Sophomore Adam Perry and freshman Cameron Wilks each carded an 84 to pace the Wildcats. Wilks, Chance Byrd and Cole Cable were all playing in their first varsity tournaments.

"Out of the top five, the oldest are sophomores, so they're young and inexperienced in playing tournaments," said SSHS head coach Ross Funk. "But, I was pleased with how we did. It was the first tournament out of the box, and the kids were nervous. But, I think as the season goes on, they'll get more comfortable."

Cable and Cort Walker,both sophomore, each carded a 95, while freshman Chance Byrd finished with a 99. Walker and Perry both played varsity last year, while Cable was on JV.

Funk said they all shot better on the back nine after they got more comfortable with the course.

"The day before, the kids were playing well at our course, which they're comfortable with," he said. "Then, they didn't shoot that well on the front side. I talked with each of them after the front nine, and the were kind of down. I just told them to concentrate on the back side and get in the mind frame that we're back and home and playing with each other.

"I told them to go out there and relax, and they all shot better on the back side."

The Wildcats finished tied for seventh with Daingerfield with a total of 354. District opponents Mount Pleasant (345) and Paris (352) were within striking distance. Atlanta won the tournament with a 328.

On the JV team, Mason Smolik carded a 96, followed by Heath Hanna with a 109 and Parker Sims with a 133.

"I look for all of them to improve," Funk said. "They played a lot better on the back side. I just want them to get more and more comfortable, because we have the ability. There's no reason we can't compete against any school we go against, in my opinion."

The Wildcats will play next weekend in a two-day tournament at Wood Hollow Golf Course and Oak Forest Sport Club in Longview.

Girls

The SSHS girls return three players from last year's district championship team, and they played like it on Tuesday.

Led by junior Britney Cheatham's 89, the Lady Cats placed second at McKinney with a 400 team total.

Because of illness, the Lady Cats only took four golfers, so all four scores were used. Two lettermen shot under 100 as Miranda Conway carded a 97 and Kaitlyn Potts had a 99, and Dani Johnson shot a 115 in her first varsity tournament.

"The ladies shot very well," said head coach Linda Rankin. "They had some nerves being the first tournament and felt like they didn't quite play to their potential, so we're expecting great things."

She said they started playing better after they got the first-tournament jitters out of the way.

"They started a little stiff, then you could see them loosening up and playing their game, and that's when they really started to turn it on," Rankin said. "We really saw great things at that point."

The Lady Cats will play Monday in Denton, as Rankin will alternate a couple of players into the final two spots as she searches for the right combination before district begins in late March.

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