Boys and girls teams prepare for a challenging Hall County championship

March 16 – It would be tough for the Gainesville boys to top their performance at last year’s Hall County Golf Championship.

But after setting a record two-day total of 4-under-par 284, good for a 20-shot win and the program’s 27th county title, the Red Elephants are hoping to do just that for this year’s tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday to do at the Chattahoochee Golf Club.

And the key, as Gainesville first-year coach Jason DeJiacomo can sum it up in one word — consistency.

“After our win at Apple Mountain (earlier this month) we’re going to do well if they play like that if they all shoot pretty well at once,” DeJiacomo said. “I think there is still a little bit under the hood that they could have achieved themselves at this event, but for us consistency will be key.

“We shot 300 in our first event. We shot 277 in our second event. That’s a big gap. Obviously the courses are not the same. But in terms of talent levels, we’re as strong, I’d say, as pretty much any team in the state. If we play well, we will play well. … When we don’t have our A game then it’s tough.

DeJiacomo has a point about his team’s potential, with such firepower as Colin Henderson, last year’s singles county champion at North Hall before moving to Gainesville, reigning Apple Mountain Invitational champion Brigham Ralston and the recently crowned Big Red Invitational -Champion Henry Kopydlowski, who is averaging a score of 71 in three events so far this season.

But while the Red Elephants’ bad moments haven’t been as bad as their second-place finish by a single point on the Stableford scoring system for Milton in the Big Red Invitational, DeJiacomo is looking for more from his team, from the Big Three to other scorers like Shay Mangalat and Nick Green.

“The biggest thing right now is figuring out how to manage those rounds,” DeJiacomo said. “We pretty much do that all week (in practice). We held our home tournament and the conditions were pretty bad with all the rain. It wasn’t the best, but coming out with a loss to Milton put a little fire under a few fags for them.

“We’re working to not just get better, we’re trying to be the best in the state. It’s a constant evolution to ensure you’re always working. … We have every chance and ability to win. It’s just figuring out how to get them all on fire at once.”

If the Red Elephants want to take home another team title, they have to earn it.

Several contenders, like Lakeview Academy, North Hall and last year’s runner-up Cherokee Bluff are poised to challenge Gainesville for the title.

Lakeview Academy in particular has gotten off to a solid start, including winning the Valhalla Cup tournament at East Hall and finishing fourth at Apple Mountain behind seniors Carter Kontour, Chandler Lovell and Tanner Stephens.

“Any time everyone in the county competes in the same place, it’s fun,” said Lions coach Tyler Sanders. “We’ve played some of the other teams in a few other tournaments lately, but not all at once.

“We had some good performances and our guys worked really hard in training and got better every day.”

The girls’ tournament also appears to be very competitive, with North Hall attempting to reclaim last year’s title against challengers like last year’s runner-up Cherokee Bluff, which features 2022 singles champion Alisa Pressley and Flowery Branch.

The Lady Trojans are bringing back two of their top three from last year in Makayla Jones and Lillie Mallis, while Morgan Whidden should add depth after a late surge last season.

“I have my team that finished third in the state (in Class 3A) last year,” said Rodney House, North Hall girls’ coach. “I think we had a pretty good chance. Cherokee Bluff has Alisa who is really good. …I haven’t seen all of them. We missed playing Flowey Branch early on, but I saw some of their scores.

“We played (last) weekend. … We have a 36-hole tournament this weekend, so we’re going to play a lot of golf.

Other teams will just try to improve, like Gainesville, which didn’t have enough varsity golfers to compete as a team this year, but brought in freshmen Ragan Allgood, Claire Gaddy, a full team of three young contestants for their first county Tournament will bring and Olivia Clemons.

“Neither of them had varsity experience until this year,” said Gainesville girls’ coach Brad Prestidge. “So it’s going to be a learning curve for them to play in the Hall County Championship for the first time ever.”


Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button