From the perspective of a Senior alternate, Trenton Duffer: At the beginning of this year, I had a feeling that we had the potential to make some noise in the playoffs. However, with both Jr. High and High School football going on, fall isn’t a time that everyone says, “Hey, it’s golf season finally!” I think after this year, people will really be looking at golf a lot more closely. As most of you know, the Macon County High School Boys Golf Team has won the State Championship. I had a part of being on this team, and it is truly an honor to say that. After 85 years, we finally have brought State Gold to this community.
It all started at District Tournament. The Boys team completely dominated every district opponent. We easily made it out of Districts. The real challenge was Regions. Our newfound rival David Lipscomb beat us last year in Regions and stopped us from going to State. However, we showed them who the best of the best really was. After beating David Lipscomb, many teams going with us to the State Championship put us in their sights, knowing that we were the real deal, and they couldn’t be more right.
The first day of the State Championship at Willow Brooks was frigid. It was probably around 45 degrees for most of the day, and everyone was wrapped up in multiple layers of clothing. Our bodies were frozen, but our playing was hot. Junior Trey Reid was the first Macon County player to tee off in the State Tournament. He hit a drive straight down the middle of the 350 yard par 4. Next up was Senior Ian Whittemore. Another great drive. After him, it was Junior Austin Williams, Junior Zach “Big Daddy” Polston, and finally Sophomore Larken Whittemore. All of their shots were straight down the middle. You couldn’t imagine a better start.
After a lot of good shots, and even one or two bad ones, the Boys emerged much to the surprise of everyone else in first place after the first day. Trey Reid shot an 80, Ian Whittemore shot an 83, Austin Williams shot a 77, Zack “Big Daddy” Polston shot a 79, and Larken Whittemore fired a 74, one of the low rounds of the whole tournament. The Macon County Boys had an 11 stroke lead on Alcoa after the first day. We all knew just because we were in the lead on the first day didn’t mean anything. It was how we finished that mattered.
The Girls first day was also a very good day. Junior Kaitlin Cartwright had an 82, Senior Kaleigh Chitwood had a 92, and Junior Lauren Gammons fired a 77, which was one of the lowest scores by the girls at the whole tournament. The girls had a 5 stroke lead on Signal Mountain after the first day.
The second day of State was just a little warmer, but our playing stayed red hot. Ian Whittemore lead off the playing on this day, followed by Trey Reid, Austin Williams, Zach Polston, and Larken Whittemore. After 5 perfect shots, the Tigers went to work. In the second day of play, Trey Reid shot a 93, Ian Whittemore shot an 86, Zack “Big Daddy” Polston shot a 75, Austin Williams shot a 73, and Larken Whittemore shot a 75. The final hole was a huge celebration for the Tigers. Zach Polston was about 100 yards from the green, and “chili-dipped” (or got under the ball too much) the ball and it landed 25 yards from the green. “Big Daddy” Polston would then chip in from 25 yards out and get a birdie on the hole. Larken Whittemore, however, had the shot of the day. After being in the fairway behind some trees, Larken would hit a perfect shot onto the green, within 10 feet of the hole, and fist pumped his way to the green. He would make his birdie and that secured the win for the Boys team. Larken Whittemore would also finish 5th overall in the State Tournament.
The Girls team, however, had a turn of bad luck. The Girls gave every bit of energy they had on the second day, but Signal Mountain just outplayed us. Kaitlin Cartwright shot an 86, Kaleigh Chitwood shot a 90, and Lauren Gammons also shot a 90. The Girls would, however, finish proudly in second place in State. Although the girls didn’t pick up the victory, this would make the fourth straight year they have traveled to the State Tournament. They finished 6th the first year, 5th the second year, 3rd the third year, and 2nd this year. With the rate they’re going, a State Championship title is only a year away.
The trophy presentation was nothing but sensational. Coach Beverly Shoulders accepted them with great honor, as she should. We wouldn’t be where we are today without her or Coach Rick Shoulders’s speeches. The Boys and Girls all accepted their trophies with huge smiles. I was just an alternate, but was allowed to accept the trophies with the team. Holding that first place trophy in my arms was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had. We had just won state. No one thought we could do it but ourselves. We went through the entire season not losing a match, except for a tournament, where we lost to Hendersonville. Other than that small blemish, we finished the season undefeated. This golf team will be remembered for the years to come. To say I was even part of it was an honor enough. Macon County has waited long enough for a State Championship 1st place trophy. This is for you Macon County. The wait is over.