PARKERSBURG -Even though Parkersburg South has the credentials and two bona fide stars where high school golf is concerned in West Virginia, Parkersburg High feels depth is going to carry its program a long way as practice gets under way today.
South returns senior Alex Schreckengost and junior Adeena Shears from a team which finished fourth at last year's Class AAA state meet. Despite graduating four golfers from last year's squad, the bar is set high once again.
"We want to get the team to state and we want to win it," South coach Sherry Morris said. "We had a great season last year. We won the conference tournament and it would be icing on the cake to get that state championship."
Photos by Kerry Patrick
Alex Schreckengost enters his senior year with Parkersburg South as one of the top golfers in the area.
Lucas Prine is one of three seniors returning to the starting lineup for the Parkersburg High School golf team.
The following is a breakdown of the four Wood County schools.
Ever since she took over the program eight years ago, numbers never have been a problem for coach Morris. And that won't change in 2014. She is expecting as many as 20 student-athletes to participate. Last year, a total of 23 individuals competed in at least one match - either at the junior varsity or varsity level.
Having Jim Eddy and Jim Sharps on board as volunteer assistants eases the burden for Morris.
"I'm lucky to have two guys who love golf and the kids," Morris said.
South lost Sam Boso, Garrett Dailey, Noah Smith and Travis Bailey to graduation, but will return Shears and Shreckengost at the top of the lineup. As a 16-year-old, Shears won the West Virginia Women's Amateur last week in Shepherdstown.
"Adeena and Alex are two motivated players," Morris said.
Also figured to be in the mix are senior Dylan Cress, juniors Ryan Fetzner, Trevor Gorrell and Chase Porter and sophomores Drew Yanok, Charlie Fetzner and Dalton Wiggins.
Several incoming freshman could make an immediate impact. The list includes Logan Clegg, Bryce Eagle and Chance Shears. Their female classmates McKenzie Wood and Jordan Mader also may see action.
"We can absolutely get back to state," Morris said.
The only adjustment awaiting the Big Reds is not the fact they return every member from a year ago. Rather, where will freshman Isaac Prine fit into the mix?
Don Snider, who enters his 10th season as the PHS head coach, has a solid nucleus returning with his three seniors - Lucas Prine, Austin Davis and Lauryn Davidson. Having Isaac Prine on the roster only strengthens the lineup.
"I think Isaac will push them a little bit," Snider said.
The roster carries no more than nine golfers. Yet, Snider will have his work cut out trying to figure out who starts from one match to another. Among the returning letterwinners are juniors Ian McElroy, Remy Toncray and Alex Milhoan, along with sophomore Max Hughes.
"Since I've started here at PHS, this is the strongest overall lineup I have had," Snider said. "When I play six, I feel comfortable getting scores from all six."
With the presence of his three seniors, Snider feels his Big Reds are capable of contending not only for the Mountain State Athletic Conference but also possibly securing a berth at the state tournament.
"Austin, Lucas and Lauryn have been through the wars," Snider said. "They have an opportunity to do something. They've done everything possible except for one thing. These seniors have never been to state - not even as individuals, but they are all capable. They know what they can shoot."
One more season as a high school golf coach awaits Williamstown's Russ Schramm. Then he is stepping down and devoting his time to his grandchildren.
"I will miss being around the kids," said Schramm, who enters his 10th season with the Yellowjackets.
Williamstown will look to replace state qualifier Kody Rhyne. Otherwise, the Yellowjackets have the luxury of inserting the likes of seniors Mac McCormick, Chandler Weber and Ty Adkins back into the starting lineup.
Juniors Jacob Wade, Dalton Smith and sophomore Sierra Deem also lettered for Williamstown.
"We won't be very deep, but we will be competitive," Schramm said. "After the three seniors, we are pretty lean. We have a couple of kids who have to step up to be real competitive."
The golf program at Parkersburg Catholic is in limbo. Of the three golfers scheduled to return to the team, two are attending another school and the third is academically ineligible.
"We need a coach and we need players," PCHS athletic director Danny Tennant said. "We won't know until mid-August if we will even have a team."