The start of the 2012 high school golf season is a far cry from those days when Roane County barely had enough golfers to field a team.
Three days into the schedule and the Raiders already own three tournament titles (Collins-Metz Memorial, St. Marys Invitational and the Little Kanawha Conference Scramble).
"I remember the lean years when we ran through a little bit of a dryspell - there was a time when I was begging kids to play," Roane County coach James Kendall said. "Other coaches saw me come to tournaments and walk out with no wins. I remember showing up for one of the Top Flite events - I signed up my kids and we finished 32nd out of 32 teams."
Since resurrecting the middle school program in Spencer four years ago, the Raiders have seen substantial progress at the high school level. Last year, they advanced to the Class AA state tournament for the first time and placed sixth overall.
Three members from that squad return - juniors Alston Spears, Hunter Simmons and Forrest Greenlee. Twin brothers Cole and Cam Moore provide depth and have already made a name for themselves as freshmen. Cam Moore took medalist honors at Wednesday's St. Marys Invitational with a 1-under par 63, while Cole Moore eagled two holes all by himself during Thursday's LKC four-man scramble at Woodridge Golf Club.
The Moores played a vital role as eighth graders as Spencer claimed last year's Wood County Middle School championships. Jeff Thompson is the first-year coach at Spencer and continuing the tradition established by Travis Corbitt.
"As long as we keep that golf program going, I think we will see some success," Kendall said. "The more success we see then we will see some of the younger kids wanting to take part."
"Roane is solid - from one through five they are stacked," Snodgrass said. "One day their five could beat their one, and that's how we were the last couple of years."
After spending a large portion of the summer competing against some of the top female amateur golfers in the eastern United States at venues like Pinehurst in North Carolina and an NCAA Division I regional site at Penn State University, Snodgrass has turned her sights on the high school season which began earlier this week.
She was a co-medalist on her home course at North Bend for the Collins-Metz Memorial and tied for second place at the St. Marys Invitational.
"During the summer, I finally got to play against girls and that was nice because in college that's who I will be competing against," said Snodgrass, who is working with a new swing coach this year. "We traveled a lot of miles, but it was good for me. I need to be playing against the higher competition because it gets me more prepared for college."
Even though Snodgrass is the lone returning starter from last year's team, she feels the Rebels have the potential to make some noise in 2012.
"We're a way younger team, but I think we're better than what people are giving us credit for."
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org