PARKERSBURG -The golf programs from Parkersburg High and Williamstown won't have any room for error, while Parkersburg South and Parkersburg Catholic are equipped with depth and experience as they embark on the 2013 season.
The following is a school-by-school preview of teams in Wood County.
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Parkersburg High junior Austin Davis is one of the key golfers on the Big Red team this season. Davis qualified for the West Virginia Open played at the Parkersburg Country Club earlier in the year.
The Patriots lost just one full-time starter to graduation (Trent McCutcheon) from a squad that finished less than five strokes from qualifying for the Class AAA state tournament.
Otherwise, the roster of nearly 20 golfers includes as many as nine players who could crack the starting lineup. At the top of the heap is Alex Schreckengost, who won his age division at the West Virginia Junior Amateur and qualified for the West Virginia Amateur Championship at The Greenbrier. Sophomore Adeena Shears has made a name for herself on the female circuit during the summer.
"Alex placed sixth overall at the Junior Amateur, while Adeena has played a lot of travel golf with the AJGA and some of the bigger tournaments," said coach Sherry Morris, who enters her sixth season with the Patriots. "Both of them are getting a lot of experience on difficult courses."
Also contending for a starting slot are seniors Garrett Dailey, Travis Bailey, Sam Boso and Noah Smith, and sophomores Nathan Winans, Chase Porter and Trevor Gorrell.
Unlike last year when they logged an inordinate amount of miles traveling to meets, the Patriots will be staying closer to home this season. Their regional is set for Parkersburg Country Club on Sept. 30, while the Two Rivers Athletic Conference championship will be conducted at Woodridge Golf Club.
Nearly a dozen golfers are expected for Parkersburg's first practice, but beyond the top three it's anybody's guess for coach Don Snider.
A trio of juniors - Lauryn Davidson, Lucas Prine and Austin Davis - provide a solid foundation. Davis qualified for the West Virginia Open, while Davidson is considered one of the top female golfers in the area. Prine is entering his third year as a starter.
"In those tournaments where they count three will definitely be an advantage for us because we have three kids who can score." Snider said. "Right now, we don't have that fourth person. That spot is wide open."
Among the candidates to fill a starting role are sophomores Chase Coe and Ian McElroy, along with freshmen Max Hughes and Whitney Milhoan.
Within the Mountain State Athletic Conference, Snider figures George Washington is a slight favorite but doesn't discount his club's chances since his veteran starters have seen the layout at Berry Hills Country Club on numerous occasions.
In terms of the postseason, the Class AAA regional will be conducted on the Big Reds' home course at Parkersburg Country Club.
"We have to use that home course advantage," Snider said.
In his second year back as the head coach at Parkersburg Catholic, Dick Wildt will have the luxury of picking from a veteran squad. Returning for the Crusaders are seniors Ben Collie, Carson Weyer, Ryan McCarty, Abby Roberts, Cody Offenberger and Andrew Nill to coincide with juniors Kyra Senchyshak and Bryant Nedeff.
"We have a good chance to be a contender," Wildt said. "The potential is there. Our biggest hangup is regional. We have Charleston Catholic, which has everybody back, and we have Buffalo, which has everybody back."
Like everybody else in the Little Kanawha Conference, the Crusaders may be playing for second place because of the talent at defending Class AA state champion Roane County.
"It's Roane County and everybody else," Wildt said. "No doubt Roane County is by far the best team in the conference. All of their kids are good."
Williamstown is in the same boat as Parkersburg when it comes to golf in Wood County. Ninth-year head coach Russ Schramm estimates his roster will consist of no more than six golfers.
Headlining the short list is junior Mac McCormick, who placed runner-up in the Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association standings this past summer. Joining McCormick on the roster are senior Kody Rhyne, juniors Chandler Weber and Ty Adkins and sophomore Dalton Smith.
"We don't have room for error," Schramm said. "We need three to show up every tournament and I think we are capable of that."