Flexing some muscle

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Local high schools take to the links

By Mike Forster


By Mike Forster



Like a horse bent on a wire-to-wire victory, Jefferson Forest's golf team has stormed out of the gate.

The Cavs, one of the top teams in the state last year, are already showing that they're the real deal in 2014.

Led by seniors Zeke Shen and Landon Moore, JF heads into this fall's fray with high hopes  "I see a lot of senior leadership," said JF Head Coach Garnet Manley Jr., who lost a great amount of such leadership to graduation last year when, among others, Brian Touna and Matthew Stanley received their diplomas.

The season got off to a remarkable start, as the Cavs easily captured Appomattox's Raider Invitational.

Top five teams

1.  Jefferson Forest            291

2.  Appomattox             301

3.  William Campbell       326

4.  Rustburg             333

5.  Altavista            357

Shen took medalist honors as he scorched a 65, which included four birdies and an eagle

Hot on his heels was freshman phenom Isaac Simmons, who took second place, carding out at 69.  Simmons nailed birds on three of his final four holes.

Harry Hodgert (76) took seventh, while Moore (81) landed in 12th and Kyle Camper (83) was 15th.

Even Zach Abbott, who was the final Cav, finishing 27th (with a score of 90), would have been the top golfer for Nelson County, had he played for them.

Meanwhile, Liberty and Staunton River had a chance to knock some of the rust off their irons.

The Minutemen headed to Amherst County for a four-way contest, emerging with a second-place finish (with 367 team points) behind Rustburg (334) but ahead of Amherst (372) and Brookville (411).

Liberty brought only four golfers (while the other schools sent six) to the event, which counted each school's top four finishers.  So, all four Minutemen had to be on their game.

They were that, as each broke 100.  Top dog Drew Hornady led the way for the M-Men, with an 87.  Second in command Hunter Byers was close behind, carding an 89.  Nathan Frayley (93) and Porter Flynn (98) chipped in to give the team its fine finish.

Meanwhile, Staunton River got into the swing of things.  The Golden Eagles had their first Blue Ridge meet of the year, and fared not too badly.

The youngish Eagles took fourth place in the six-team field, with Alleghany unable to man a full team.

William Byrd (304) was well ahead of the field.  Rockbridge (321) was second and host Lord Botetourt (342) was third.

Staunton River (401), Northside (402) and William Fleming (444) rounded out the field.  The Eagle team score was put together by:

Drew Phillips  85

Cassidy Chambers  96

Steven Spearberg  109

Ben Martin  111


Heritage Invitational

On the soggy links of London Downs this past Monday, one thing became abundantly clear:  The Cavs, Minutemen and Golden Eagles will face some heady competition this year.

In a 24-team field at the Heritage Invitational, it was Richmond's Mills Godwin which took the team title, with a total of 301.  E.C. Glass was a stroke behind, and third-place Hidden Valley turned in a 304.  JF was fourth, at 309, while Tunstall (317) and Rockbridge (323) rounded out the top of the finishers.

Liberty was 17th, with a score of 376, two strokes better than River, which was 18th.

Shen was the top local finisher, taking fourth place with a score of 73.

Teammates Simmons (76), Moore (78), and Harry Hodgert (82) rounded out the team scoring for the Cavs.

Hornaday was the best of the M-Men, carding an 87.  Byers (93), Frayley (91) and Flynn (105) contributed to Liberty's final score.

River was paced by Phillips' 82.  Chambers carded a nifty 90, while brothers Nick (105) and Ben (101) Martin rounded out the Eagle scoring. 


The upshot

At this early point, all three teams are still trying to find their way.  "This is a good competition, especially for the young ones," said River Head Coach Ronnie Turner.  "And we have some young ones."

Indeed, his starting five includes two freshmen and a sophomore.  Phillips, known for his fine outside shot on the basketball court, is the only senior in the group.

Of course, when Luke Davis is back in the order, the Eagles will be a much more formidable foe.

Liberty's new coach, Clayton Carver, has his work cut out for him.  The Minutemen lost nearly their entire roster to graduation last spring when eight seniors picked up their sheepskins.

Right now, Carver has a roster that numbers four golfers, though he's hoping to draw a couple of additions before the season hits full stride.

Still, he enjoyed being at London Downs.  "This tourney gives us a chance to see where we're at and, as a new coach, it gives me a chance to see what we need to do."

Jefferson Forest, meanwhile, is suffering from a wealth of riches.  Manley believes he has 12 or 13 (of the 20 players he is currently carrying) who can shoot in the 80s, or lower.

"I look for big things out of them," he said.  "We need to improve between now and October and find the right mix."

Speaking of October, that's when States take place.  And, guess who is hosting?  Why none other than JF, at its home course of Ivy Hill.

Shen said, "Our team objective is to win States and I think we have a good chance.  Ivy Hill, as host, should give us home-course advantage."

"I hope it helps us," added Manley.  "If not, I'll just be hosting a nice tournament."

In the meantime, there's plenty of golf ahead for Manley, Carver, Turner and their crews.