PARKERSBURG - There's no hiding for Roane County.
The Raiders' golf program did not lose a single soul from last year's squad which captured the Class AA state title. They even added a few new parts, so this season the opposition is fully aware of their potential.
"People in the community and at the local course, that's what they are talking about -they think we can repeat," Roane County coach Jim Kendall said. "My thought is this is a new year. We need to start off like last year with our first tournament at Ritchie County."
What follows is a team-by-team capsule look at some of the golf programs in the Mid-Ohio Valley (excluding schools from Wood County).
Quality and quantity go hand-in-hand for Roane County. The senior class features Alston Spears, Hunter Simmons, Forrest Greenlee and Nathan Kendall. The lone junior is Ben Daniels, while Cole Moore, Cam Moore and Sierra Holcomb return for their sophomore year.
Several freshmen won't be overlooked when filling out the starting lineup. Caleb Moore, Hunter Thompson and Dalton Simmons provide depth, while classmates Allie Kendall, Aaron Simon and Jerrod Hildreth are products of a strong middle class program.
The numbers on the roster make for a competitive atmosphere.
"At the beginning of last year, I thought Alston would be our No. 1 golfer," coach Kendall said. "But after the first two weeks, it ended up being Cam then Alston again by the end of the year. There is a competitiveness between all these kids."
Last year, Roane County nearly became the first non-AAA school to wrap up the title in what was then called the Top Flite Junior Tour High School series.
"That's one of the things we're aiming at," coach Kendall said.
The Raiders' record consisted of 194 wins against just 10 losses. Roane County did not lose to a Class AA program.
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The farewell tour for Ritchie County golf Ted VanScoy begins today with the Collins-Metz Tournament at North Bend Golf Course. In nine seasons with the Rebels, Van Scoy has scripted an impressive resume with three state titles and two runner-up showings.
"I'll miss being around the kids and the parents," said VanScoy, who is retiring following 40 years of teaching.
Ritchie County possesses one of the more talented female golfers in the state with senior Sydney Snodgrass, who recently won the West Virginia Women's Amateur Championship. She also is a two-time all-stater.
The Rebels also expect contributions from sophomores Riley Allen and Ben Knight.
"Riley has gotten bigger and stronger -he hits the ball so much farther," VanScoy said. "Now we just need to adjust his short game.
"As far as Ben, he is starting to be more consistent. He has the capability."
Rounding out the roster are Audrey Mossor, juniors Zack Bishop, Jon Harkness and Hunter Bishop; junior Tyler Layfield; sophomore Tanner Langmeyer; and freshmen Tristan Wright, Sydney Brill and Morgan Reilly.
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The turnout isn't what coach Howard Meeks is accustomed to, but the Blue Devils should still give opponents fits in 2013.
"We'll probably have about 12 golfers," Meeks said. "That won't be the smallest. That happened in my first year as head coach."
St. Marys returns two-time all-Little Kanawha Conference selection Coleman Lamp, who missed qualifying for the state meet by one stroke. He will be joined by with seniors Josh Richard and Robbie Harper and sophomore Drew Wells. Last year as a freshman, Wells was runner-up for medalist honors at regionals.
The roster also consists of seniors Luke Burkhammer, Austin Handschumacher and Shealyn Delancey and junior Jared Nichols.
"Getting to state will be a little bit of a longshot," Meeks said. "Our region is real strong at Williams Country Club with Madonna and Wheeling Central."
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The Silver Knights have state experience with the return of senior Corey Wells. He will be joined by juniors Nathan Kemp and Sean Camerlin, and sophomores Adam Cooper and Ty Pratt.
"Corey is one of the better golfers I've had come through the program," Tyler Consolidated coach Joe Griffith said. "He is a hard worker and intelligent student. In fact, he is best as a computer programmer and won a competition for the state which qualified him for nationals."
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Second-year coach Nathan Tallman will have a similar number in terms of golfers at Paden City. Of the eight he expects to join the team, senior Jeremy Mercer and junior Levi Meadows rank as the top two on the list.
"I think golf is a great opportunity to get out and play - it's a lifetime sport," Tallman said. "I try to offer a lot of teaching and show them the basics. Last year, about half of my golfers had never touched a golf club before."
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The district tournament is beginning to be commonplace for the Belpre golfers. Since 2006, either an individual or the entire Golden Eagle team has advanced to the district tournament.
The streak should remain intact with the return of four starters in particular - seniors Hayden Plummer and Brennen Ferrell and juniors Sam Petty and Alex Perry. The only two casualties to graduation on the boys side were Dakota Hoffman and Bryce Pitteneger.
Also expected to contribute are freshman Logan Plummer, along with Jackie Cunningham and Alana Delancey. Cunningham advanced to the girls district a year ago.
"We will see what we can do - we would like to win the Tri-Valley Conference a third year in a row," Belpre coach Scott Miller said.