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Class A schools typically don’t have the opportunity to make waves when they compete against their larger comrades in athletic competition.
But coach Christi Medley is hoping that her Bethlehem boys’ golf team has the pieces in place to do just that.
The Eagles return every player from last year’s team that finished second in the All A Classic 5th Region tournament to Washington County, losing when a player was penalized for having a grip that was too short.
“We’re obviously wanting to do well in every tournament and match,” Medley said. “We want to do well in (Thursday’s) Kickin’ Chicken, the Class A, and the regional tournament too. I am very excited about our team this year.”
The coach said that she has noticed a different attitude among her players.
“They seem very committed and are all working hard. Everyone seems to be more focused on what they’re doing. And it is showing in their play.”
There is tight race among four players vying for the top positions.
Junior Daniel Steele holds a slight lead over senior Corey Robinson for the number one spot (39.6 average versus 40) with last year’s top player J.T. Smith posting a 40.6 average in practice rounds. Henry Smith is close behind them with a 42 average.
“I look for it to get even tighter when J.T. starts playing a little more,” Medley said. “He has played well even though he went six weeks without a club in his hand this summer because he went to Governor’s Scholar.”
Steele has played in several junior tournaments this summer, finishing third in one of them.
“He is just so committed to the game,” Medley noted. “He’s always at the course and practicing.”
The lanky junior qualified as an individual and participated in last year’s All A Classic state tournament.
“With three seniors coming back, I am looking for good things this year,” Steele said. “With the Class A (regionals) at Maywood, we should be able to compete well in that. We all know the golf course and should be able to score well on this course.”
He added that he believes the team can make a run in the 4th Region tournament.
“At least, that is our goal.”
The coach said that Robinson’s athleticism helps him.
“He’s so natural in what he does. And I would have to say that Corey is doing a better job thinking about what he’s doing on the course. He doesn’t hit a driver on a hole if he needs something else to keep the ball in play.”
The work ethic that has made J.T. Smith a 4.0 student and a National Honor Society member has propelled his golf game.
Medley said that if Smith is not satisfied with his performance in a match, he could be seen at the range at Maywood hitting balls to perfect things.
Senior Will Schlosser and freshman Jacob Taylor, who played at Nelson County last year, will also participate in varsity matches for Bethlehem.
Caroline Osborne is the lone member of the Banshee golf team and Medley says that the sophomore has improved from last year.
“She has really worked hard over the past year,” Medley said. “She’s taken lessons, and with her dad and grandfather being professionals, you can tell that she’s listening to them.”
Osborne will participate in some matches and will compete in the All A Classic regionals and the girls’ 3rd Region tournament.