The Tyler Consolidated High School's golf program will be nine golfers strong this season, several returning with excellent experience: seniors Nathan Kemp and Johnathan Lancaster; juniors Karly Allen, Kellsi Anderson, Adam Cooper, Ty Pratt, and Kaleb Tanley; sophomore Levi Hudson; and freshman, Cheyenne Morris.
"Our two senior co-captains will lead the way this year," said head coach of the golf team, Joe Griffith. "John Lancaster is in his fourth season as a Knight, while Nathan Kemp is back for his third year. They will be providing some key leadership both in scoring and also in helping the younger players with their skills. We look for John to very quickly get his game back to where he finished last year, while Nathan has been turning in some nice low scores already this season. One other senior who has been a starter in the past two seasons-Sean Camerlin-elected to play soccer this year and we will miss having him as part of the team.
"We have a nice big group of juniors, including Karly Allen, who is out for her first season of golf. She seems to be quickly getting the hang of the game. The other juniors have all played for two years already, and their scores will be a crucial part of our team's score each match. Kellsi Anderson has improved exponentially over the past two years, while the three guys-Adam Cooper, Ty Pratt, and Kaleb Tanley-have steadily been dropping their scores since last year. This junior class is a very strong part of our team."
The lone sophomore on the team is Levi Hudson, who returns for his second year on the links as part of the team. "I haven't gotten to see him play much in just this first week of the season," Griffith said. "But what I have seen he has shown improvement over last year, especially in his drives."
Only one freshman joins the ranks of the Knight golfers, Cheyenne Morris. "Cheyenne Morris has played a lot of golf and we look for her to move right into a starting position on the varsity squad," said the coach. "I can see already that in my 35+ years of coaching golf, Cheyenne is the best freshman girl golfer that we have ever had come out for the team.
"It is unusual for us to have two classes with only one player. I can't remember ever having that happen before. It is still possible for students to join up with the golf team, even a week or two into the season. And there are several eighth graders who will be playing on the middle school team, so that should help fill any voids on the high school team in the next four years."
"Assistant Coach David Tucker and I are pleased with the crew that we have this year. We often have one or two seniors join the team just so they can begin to learn to play golf, and I am sorry that we don't have such a beginner this year. But with the level of ability among the nine players we do have, I think that this year's team will be able to post a better than usual season record. It should be a good year."
The actual high school golf season began a couple of weeks ago, with Tyler Consolidated having already competed several times.
On Aug. 6 the team competed at the Par 64 course in St. Marys at the St. Marys Invitational. Several teams were included in tournament play with the home team, St. Marys "Purple" taking the win in the small school division and Ritchie County taking first in the large school division of the competition.
Overall team scores: Small schools - St. Marys "Purple", 291; Weirton Madonna, 300; Williamstown, 338; Tyler Consolidated, 356; Wirt, 418; South Harrison, 434; and St. Marys "Gold", 480; large schools - Ritchie County, 300; John Marshall, 346; Ravenswood, 368; and Roane "B", 396.
For Tyler Consolidated, Kemp was the lowest scorer on the day with rounds of 38/39 for 77 points; Kaleb Tanley scored 46/42 for 88; Pratt, 47/47, 94; Adam Cooper, 47/50, 97; and Lancaster, 50/53, 103.
"We had two days of practice and then jumped right into the season," coach Griffith said. "But at least it was at one of the easier courses in the area. Overall I thought that we beat the teams we should have beaten, and lost to those that we probably could not have beaten. Kemp was not happy with his round of 77, especially when medalist was an even par score of 64. Kaleb beat out the rest of the field to finish second. Our 4-5 record on the day was about what we expected to achieve."
At the Collins-Metz Invitational/LKC Scramble at North Ben on Aug. 7, the Silver had a good day on the links and had a good time to boot.
The Roane County "A" team placed first among the field of 13 with an overall score of 52. St. Marys placed second with 58; Webster had 61; Williamstown, 61; Ritchie, 61; Gilmer, 61; Ravenswood, 61; Roane "B", 65; Tyler "A", 69; Wirt, 71; South Harrison, 79; Clay County, 82; and Tyler "B" 83.
"The LKC Scramble is what the players consider to be the most fun match of the season, and the North Bend Course is great for the scramble team format," said the coach. "If you note the scores, you will see that the Roane A team had a phenomenal day, at 20 under par. That's 12 birdies and four eagles! That is impressive for a high school team."
"I followed the Knights "A" Team, where Nathan Kemp was the horse much of the way. Drives and fairway shots were generally where they should have been, but the short game and putting let them down a number of times. For the "B" team, Cheyenne Morris had a good day."
The team participated in the Wirt Invitational at the Mingo Bottom Golf Course in Elizabeth, WV on Aug. 8.
Kemp was the low man on the day for the Silver and Black with a score of 84; Pratt scored 86; Lancaster, 99; Tanley, 104; and Morris, 104.
Roane County "A" team again took the top prize with a score of 307. Ritchie scored 338 for second place followed by St. Marys "Purple" with 342; Huntington St. Joseph, 345; Williamstown, 359; Gilmer, 365; Tyler Consolidated, 373; Ripley, 383; Wirt, 411; Ravenswood, 413; Wahama, 435; Roane "B", 443; Buffalo, 450; Braxton, 460; Clay, 518; and St. Marys "Gold", 533.
"We don't usually have room in our schedule for the Wirt Invitational, but with Mingo Bottom being the site of the LKC Tournament later this year, we wanted to have our players see the course," said the coach. "It has some challenging holes, and lots of water on the front nine. But it's a good course and was in good condition for the players. We finished 8-6 among the field, and I was pleased with that. I thought we might have moved ahead of Gilmer, but we beat the other teams that I thought we should have."
"Nathan Kemp had a good day on the course, which he has only played one or two times. I watched Ty Pratt part of the time, and he had some very nice drives to help his score. Lancaster has been having some trouble with slicing, but drives that I saw from John were much closer to the middle of the fairway. Kaleb and Cheyenne were playing the course for the first time, and they both kept their scores in the low 100's. I am confident that they can both bring those scores down for the LKC Tournament."
At the end of the first week of the season, the Silver Knights accumulated a 15-18 record. "That is better than most years starting out have been," Griffith said. "But the team members know that they can improve on that record as the season goes on."
On Aug. 13th the team played host to the Paden City golf team, scoring lower than their visitors to the tune of 179 to 205.
Individually for Tyler Consolidated, Kemp was the medalist of the match with a score of 40. Pratt scored 43; Tanley, 45; Lancaster, 51; Morris, 52; Hudson, 65; and Anderson scored 68.
For Paden City, Jake Pierce was the low man for the Wildcats with a 47; Kennedy Cain scored 52; Michael Wilcox, 52; Levi Meadows, 54; Dean Frye, 56; Aaron Heasley, 56; Dezirae Middleton, 51; Evan Shreve, 63; Kalob Byers, 63; Logan Crawford, 65; Kris Byers, 66; and Koby Wade scored 66.
"Nathan Kemp ended up as medalist, which is fitting considering the amount of time that he spends on the golf course," Griffith said. "It was also good to have a team score for the first match in the 170's. As the season goes on, I think we can drop into the low 170's or even the 160's.
"We were missing Adam Cooper, who is doubling up with golf and soccer. Pratt and Tanley had solid scores, and I know that both Lancaster and Morris will be able to lower their scores as the season progresses.
"Also, Paden City had 16 players, which is a fantastic turnout for such a small school. It is great to see that kind of interest in golf for the Wildcats."
The Silver Knight golfers will host John Marshall, Magnolia, Paden City, and Linsly on Aug. 20 at the Sistersville Country Club.