The Thomson High School golf teams will swing into the Region 3-AAAA tournament tomorrow at Waynesboro Country Club. The boys, coached by Rob Ridings, and the girls, led by John Barnett, have played a full slate of matches and are ready for the challenge.
Junior J.R. Marsh and Senior Leslie Wangness seem to be looking at their teams' chances realistically. They both feel that Statesboro will be the team to beat.
"Statesboro has guys that are experienced in competition and some will get scholarships," Marsh said. "We only have two seniors on our team; we're pretty young."
Even though the girls edged Statesboro by two strokes in a match last week in Waynesboro, Wangness expects much of the same.
"Our goal is to finish in the top two so we can go to state," said Wangness. "Statesboro, Greenbrier and Lakeside will be tough."
Coach Barnett added that a girl from Greenbrier is expected to sign a scholarship with Augusta State University.
Besides a regular season match, the squads will play a practice round on the Waynesboro course today.
"It's a pretty nice course and the kids like playing there," said Coach Ridings. "It does give Burke County a little advantage though."
The Waynesboro course is a typical par-72. In last week's match, Burke County's Matt Marchman, 70, and Statesboro's Ben Lee, 76, were low medalists. On the girls' side, Gina Gibson of Statesboro shot a 74 followed by Wangness with a 91. Marsh and Neal Hunter led the Thomson boys with an 84 each.
The Region champion and runner-up will advance to the state tournament on May 10. The boys' state match will be played at Fields Ferry Golf Course in Calhoun, Ga. Goshen Plantation in Richmond County will host the girls' competition.
The golfers are J.R. Marsh, Thomas Reddick, Devin Key, Josh Thomas, Chris Cook, Neal Hunter, Cory Hobbs, Al Reese, Rob Graham and Tripp Wangness. Leslie Wangness, Dottie Knox, Stacy Cason, Holly Neal, Hanna Herndon, Michelle Jones, Ashley Crawley and Jessica Pasquale comprise the girls' team.
The Thomson High boys won state golf championships in 1980 and 1982.