By Trent Boysen, Head Golf Coach
Postseason golf for the Tigers began on Thursday, Sept. 23 with a great start — the weather was amazing and the golf was even better as the team took part in the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association District Championship down in Shelbyville.
Before diving into the day's events, I'd first like to give a shout out to all of our seniors, even if they didn't make the tournament team: Will Barrett, Russ Petty, Hugh Greenfield, Ian Manz, Jackson Liff, Ian Tibbs, Carson Kirshner, Kyle Wolfson, and Spencer Daniel. Thanks for making the hard work fun and for being an all around wonderful group of young men.
All season the boys battled for a spot in the top five to determine who would ultimately represent USN in the postseason. The competition was fierce, and fifth and sixth positions saw different players occupy each spot. In the end, Will, Russ, Eli Gold '24, Edward Crane '23, and Hugh made up the five man varsity squad with Ian in sixth as the team's alternate. Meanwhile, the girls' team was set early with Kate Vaughn '24, Ainsley Moore '24, and Emily Law '24, but, new to the sport, Ellie Rothman '25 added some freshness to practice.
Sept. 23 was the first of two tournaments that lead to the state championship. Each one allows only a certain number of teams and individual players to advance to the next stage. Three teams advance to the regional tournament, plus five additional players from teams not advancing, and and we certainly wanted to be part of that elite group.
For the first time this season, the majority of the boys got off to a good start and held that until about the halfway point. Hugh and Edward both had flashes of greatness, but could not string enough of those together to do their ability justice. Hugh would go on to set a PR with a 91, but personally I feel that he played better than that score. Last week, he set a goal to beat 92, and the week before that he may have said even higher. Eli played birdie, bogey, par golf and was six over with five to go. If asked, I'm sure he could list five specific shots that he lost to the course, and missing a 2-foot putt usually means your score is going in the wrong direction. Still, an 80 for the day is fantastic even with those uncharacteristic hiccups. Will and Russ were locked in much of the day, each two over through nine. However, a missed putt here, or getting out of position off the tee over there, helped to quietly add strokes that they did not make up elsewhere. It's all relative and each may say they had a blow up hole or two, but to the rest of us, they played great today. Will finished with a 77 (fourth lowest round of the day) and Russ finished with a 78. The boys' team score of 326, while one of our lowest of the season, was just two shy of a score needed to qualify for the region tournament. Will's 77 and Russ' 78 were low enough to qualify them for the tournament as individuals.
In the girls' competition, Kate started on the hardest hole of 18. It's a par five that has a green guarded by water, which happens to be precisely the exact yardage one would use for their second shot. It's not even one of those risk reward shots. 99% of the HS golfers should uncomfortably lay up, most don't. Kate parred this hole, and I think that this boosted confidence for most of the round. She was one over after five, but bogeyed four in a row; any birdies were balanced by bogeys, and she ultimately finished with a 77 (fourth lowest round of the day). Ainsley started the day with a bogey, which may have been a sign that her swing was a bit off, but a mid-round rally limited damage and she finished with a 79. Emily just could not find consistency. She had to work hard for her score of 85. Extremely uncharacteristic, possibly due to the weight of postseason play. I know she'll bounce back on Monday. Yes, the girls team score of 156 earned them district runner up and they will compete to qualify for the state championship on Monday, Sept. 27!
Congrats to the Girls' Golf Team and to Will and Russ, all will represent USN at the TSSAA Regional Golf Tournament on Monday, Sept. 27 at Riverbend Country Club in Shelbyville.