CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — If only golf were more predictable.
Last week, Rossview High’s Lady Hawks were riding high, fresh off the success of a third straight District 10 golf tournament title. The defending Class 3A state champs were hoping for another region title but Rossview coach Phil Burkhart was cautious about that possibility, knowing how fortunes in golf can turn on a dime.
It was a wrong turn Monday afternoon as Rossview failed in its bid to earn another state tournament berth. Instead it was rival Clarksville High that pulled off the upset, beating the Lady Hawks by a single stroke in the girls’ Region 5-AAA Golf Tournament to earn its first team state tournament berth since 2012.
“We are extremely excited,” Clarksville’s Breana Smith said. “I really can’t put it into words. We all have worked extremely hard for this moment and now that it’s here, there are no words.”
Smith led the Lady Wildcats, shooting a 75 Monday. Clarksville High fired a 152 as a team while Rossview finished with a 153 at Swan Lake Golf Course. Smith was aided by her teammates, as Mariah Smith fired a 77 and Riley Cooper shot an 81.
“I know I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Mariah Smith said. “We feel like we can win state but we had to get past our district and Rossview. Rossview is such a great team and all of us are really close and we all know each other very well. We knew it would be a struggle to beat them.”
Rossview’s Caroline Caudill led all golfers, carding a 71 to capture the individual region title. But Catherine Caudill and Monica Pan struggled. Catherine shot an 82 while Pann fired an 88. However, Catherine responded when she had to, qualifying for state after winning in a playoff for one of the four qualifying spots. Cartherine Caudill captured the District 10 individual title, firing a 73 at Swan Lake last week.
Burkhart was disappointed that his team would not get a chance to defend its state title, but took some solace in knowing he’ll have two golfers competing next week in Manchester.
“I told you that’s golf,” Burkhart said. “It can be funny like that, but not funny in a good way. You can be playing well one minute or one week and not play so well the next. Our girls gave a great effort but Clarksville High played really well and I’ve said since the start of the year that it would be either us or Clarksville High and I still believe that Clarksville High can win state.”
Burkhart also expressed an interest in seeing the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association change the rules of postseason play in high school golf.
“I’ve talked to the TSSAA this week hoping we can change this around where they can send two from the same region to state,” Burkhart said. “They do it in every other sport where there is at least a sectional. We’re supposed to put a proposal in sometime in the next week, so hopefully we can get that changed because there are some really great golfers that get left out of state.”
For Clarksville High, next week will represent another opportunity for the Lady Wildcats. Clarksville captured back-to-back state championships in 2011 and 2012, led by former CHS greats like Samantha Gotcher, Megan Beane and Whitney Robertson. But this year’s Lady Wildcats team is looking to make its own mark, and tie Rossview with the program’s third state championship.
“I know for me, I didn’t have the best day (Monday) but I’m ready for state,” Cooper said. “I think the experience will be amazing. The best thing about it is knowing you have teammates who can pick you up if you’re having a bad round. That’s what happened (Monday). I wasn’t having the best round, but Mariah and Breana played extremely well.”
Mariah Smith has already experienced a few national amateur golf tournaments this past summer so nerves shouldn’t be an issue at the WillowBrook Golf Course.
“That’s pressure,” Mariah Smith said. “Having two or three dozen college scouts out there looking at you in those events this past summer was daunting. But I think I learned something from those situations. I’ve learned how to compose myself and how to handle pressure. I think that will help next week.”
On the boys’ side, Clarksville High finished second behind region champ Hendersonville. The Wildcats fired a 319 team total while the Commandos won with a 301.
Eric Jinnette led the way for Clarksville with a 75. That score was good enough to qualify for state as the lone Montgomery County golfer in 3A to qualify. Logan Reynolds and Luke Chilcutt missed out on a chance to have a playoff to settle another one of the four state qualifying spots. Both shot 81s. Ty Joubert shot an 82 while Caleb Corley fired a 88 for CHS.
Rossview finished sixth as a team with a 418.
Reach Prep writer George Robinson at 931-245-0747 and on Twitter @Cville_Sports.
REGION 5-AAA GOLF TOURNAMENT
1st, Clarksville High (152)
2nd, Rossview (153)
3rd, Station Camp (159)
Caroline Caudill (Rossview), 71
Sydney Koch (Station Camp) 80
Meghann Stamps (Hendersonville) 81
Catherine Caudill (Rossview), 82
1st, Hendersonville (301)
2nd, Clarksville High (319)
3rd, Mt. Juliet (331)
Blaine Turner (Wilson Central) 74
Eric Jinnette (Clarksville High) 75
Sam Fogg (Mt. Juliet) 78
Jordan Powell (Station Camp) 80