High school golf season is less than a week old. Here are some things to watch for as teams strive to reach Manchester’s WillowBrook Golf Club for the 2015 TSSAA State Golf Championships.
Top talent returns: It’s a little early to tell who is No. 1, but there shouldn’t be a shortage of talent in 2015. Of the combined 15 boys and girls selected to The Tennessean’s 2014 All-Midstate golf team, only eight were seniors. That leaves seven reigning All-Midstate selections – Ensworth’s Brock Ochsenreiter, Christ Presbyterian’s Luke Zieman, Dickson County’s Hunter Wolcott, Cookeville’s Will Brooks, Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Siarra Stout, Rossview’s Caroline Caudill and Warren County’s Hannah Powell – with the opportunity to launch another All-Midstate-worthy campaign.
Ready for a repeat: Christ Presbyterian Academy will have a chance to defend a pair of state titles this fall. Junior Siarra Stout captured the 2015 Class A-AA individual state championship by edging Milan’s Arianna Clemmer by five strokes. The CPA boys team will also be tasked with defending its crown after topping Christian Academy of Knoxville by three strokes last fall. One of the Lions’ top returners, Luke Zieman, is also eyeing his first individual state championship after finishing third a season ago.
Rossview girls look to reload: Rossview’s girls team lost quite a bit of talent from last season’s Class AAA team champion, including a pair of All-Midstate first-teamers in Hanley Long (MTSU) and Reagan Greene (Lincoln Memorial), but that doesn’t mean the Lady Hawks won’t be gunning for championship No. 4. Sisters Caroline and Catherine Caudill are two of the team’s top returners, while senior Monica Pan will round out the lineup. Caroline Caudill sported a 72 average last season, while Catherine averaged 74.
Big shoes to fill: While Farragut captured the 2014 team Class AAA championship, Brentwood placed second – just three strokes behind Admirals – and Hendersonville posted a third-place finish. Both will have to replace key pieces from last year’s squads, though. The Commandos graduated reigning Tennessean Golfer of the Year and Class AAA individual champion Jacob Sherlin, while the Bruins must fill the void left by the second-place finisher Cameron Smith.
Late drama: Ensworth senior Brock Ochsenreiter will be looking to repeat as a state champion this season, but he’ll be hoping to get it done without the late drama that was required last season. Like Sherlin in Class AAA, Ochsenreiter needed five additional holes to edge Memphis University School’s Goodman Rudolph – the grandson of legendary Midstate golfer Mason Rudolph. Ochsenreiter, who moved to Nashville from Destin, Fla., prior to his sophomore year, has committed to play golf at Indiana next year, and he’s currently the state’s third-ranked golfer in the class of 2016.
BOYS GOLFERS TO WATCH
Brock Ochsenreiter, Ensworth, Sr.: Indiana commitment returns to defend his 2014 DII-AA individual championship.
Luke Zieman, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Jr.: As a sophomore, shot 142 to place third in Class A-AA and helped lead the Lions to a state title.
Hunter Wolcott, Dickson County, Sr.: Posted a 3-under 141 to finish tied for third in Class AAA as a junior.
GIRLS GOLFERS TO WATCH
Siarra Stout, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Jr.: Reigning Tennessean All-Midstate Girls Golfer of the Year fired 3-over 147 to claim the 2014 Class A-AA individual championship.
Hannah Powell, Warren County, Jr.: Placed fifth in Class AAA last fall with a 5-over 149.
Caroline Caudill, Rossview, Jr.: All-Midstate second-teamer shot 6-over 150 to pace seventh in Class AAA and helped lead the Lady Hawks to a state title.
The Tennessean’s Michael Murphy and Sam Brown contributed to this report.