Two WCHS golfers headed to the state!

Posted By | September 17, 2012 12:00 am

Region runner up. Shelby Johnson finished second in the region in just her second year of high school golf. That finish advances Johnson to the state tournament next week. She is pictured with WCHS golf coach, Eric Mitchell.

Region champ. A.J. Wilkerson, pictured with WCHS golf coach, Eric Mitchell, captured the Region 3AAA championship shooting an even par 72 at Harrison Bay on Thursday. That win gives Wilkerson his second trip to the state tournament.

For the third time in as many years, White County High School will be represented at the TSSAA state golf championships.
Two WCHS golfers earned the right to advance from the Region 3AAA tournament on to the state tournament. A.J. Wilkerson continues his stellar play in his final season of high school golf garnering the region title and a spot in the state. Shelby Johnson, a sophomore, will be joining Wilkerson at the state after she finished second in the girls’ region tournament. Both were played Thursday at Harrison Bay in Chattanooga.
Wilkerson, who has already committed to play golf at Tennessee Tech next season and the winner of the District 6AAA tournament, shot even par 72 to win the 3AAA region title. He became the first Warrior to take the region title since Brad Golden won it back in the fall of 1996.
For the day, Wilkerson finished with six birdies, six pars and six bogeys. Going into the 14th hole he was 2-under, but bogeyed three straight holes before finishing with a birdie on 17 and then parred 18 to take the title.
Coach Eric Mitchell commented on Willkerson’s play.
“A.J. has been playing great and he did again today. There are some strong golfers in this region and A.J. won the region title. He drives the ball so well. He puts himself in great position. Even on those three holes he bogeyed down the stretch, his drives were straight down the middle of the fairway. Once he improves his short game, he will be hard to beat.”
Wilkerson, who will be making his second trip to the state, talked about his play at Harrison Bay, “I hit the ball the best I have this year. I just couldn’t get a lot of putts to fall. But I am very happy and thankful for the opportunity to play at the state. My goal is to bring home a state title.”
Johnson will join Wilkerson at the state tournament in just her second season of high school golf. Wilkerson also qualified when he was a sophomore and just missed last season as a junior. Johnson finished second individually in the region tournament shooting an 80. That was three strokes back of low female medalist, Samantha Griffin, from Ooltewah.
Johnson keeps up the string of Warriorette golfers at the state. Allison Geer, who is now a freshman golfer at Tennessee Tech, qualified during her junior and senior seasons for the state.
Warrior freshman golfer, Cameron Bruce, narrowly missed out on qualifying for the state. Bruce shot a 77 despite bogeying the final three holes.
Mitchell commented on his young golfers, “I am so proud of Shelby for qualifying as a sophomore. She is already one of the strongest high school girls’ golfers in the area. She has led our team all season. She had a tough front nine and then came back and played solid on the back nine to earn her spot in the state. Cameron was right there with the other individual qualifiers until his final three holes. He has a very bright future.”
Other scores for WCHS were Zack Payne (81), Jesse Villard (83) and Tommy Sparkman (91). Melaney Payne shot a 104 for the girls.
Cookeville, despite not winning either district title, came back to win both the boys’ and girls’ region titles earning the team spots in the state tournament.
The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in the district tournament, but Cookeville shot a 298 and cruised to the seven-stroke victory over Walker Valley for the region championship. After Walker Valley’s 305, McMinn County finished third at 306 and the Warriors came in fourth with a 313 just one stroke ahead of Coffee County.
After Wilkerson’s 72 for the top spot, there were four tied at 73, including one of the Cavaliers, Travis Bumbalough. Since he qualified with his team, the other three wrapped up the four individual spots along with Wilkerson. Those three were Chase Montgomery (Bradley Central), Cody Housely (McMinn County) and Nicholas Powell (Warren County).
Cookeville and Walker Valley’s girls finished tied at 171 with the Lady Cavaliers winning the playoff. Their golfers came in with an 85 and 86.
The Lady Cavaliers were defeated in the district tournament by Warren County, but edged the Lady Pioneers by two strokes and Coffee County by four strokes.
Besides Griffin and Johnson, the other individual qualifiers were Walker Valley’s Katie Bishop (81) and Coffee County’s Hollee Sadler (84).
The state will begin Tuesday, September 25th at Willowbrook in Manchester. The participants will get a practice round on Monday, September 24th.

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