By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s men’s and women’s golf teams opened their seasons with a pair of matches last week.
SM traveled to Maggie Valley on March 22 and to Mill Creek in Franklin on March 24.
Pisgah’s men won at Maggie with a 306, followed by Franklin at 363 and SM at 400.
Stahle Wyatt led the way for the Mustangs with a 94. Others in scoring positions were Matthew Brown (99), Ben Manka (101) and Cameron Fowler (106).
Pisgah’s Alex Boone and Tanner Devlin tied for medalist honors at 75.
“We were excited to get started,” Coach Zeb Capps said. “We’re young, and some of our youth showed in the first match. Stahle is doing a good job stepping into a leadership role.”
The Lady Mustangs were the only women’s team with the minimum of three players to qualify for team standings and shot 137. Allison Macke was the medalist at 44. She was followed closely by Autumn Burtt (46) and Payton Broom (47).
“We had a great first match of the season,” Coach Jason Melvin said. “The girls were excited to get back on the golf course after waiting about a year and a half since our last competition. I think we showed a ton of potential.”
Franklin’s men defeated SM 181-206 at Mill Creek. Wyatt shot 46 for the Mustangs, followed by Manka (47), Caleb Milkey (56) and Fowler (57).
Franklin’s Skyler Hill was medalist at 41.
“We played pretty well,” Capps said. “Caleb Milkey and Caleb Borchelt got experience by filling in. We need to improve our shot selection and be better managers of the course.”
SM was again the only women’s team with enough players to qualify for team standings and had a total of 159. Macke shot 51, followed by Broom (53) and Maddie Stillwell (55).
Macke and Franklin’s Olivia Stahl tied as medalists.
“Mill Creek was a little soggy which made it a little more difficult to play, but we still did OK,” Melvin said. “None of the girls played great, but I think this was a good match for us because we had to deal with some bad shots and figure out how to stay positive even when we put ourselves in less than ideal situations.” He said Burtt is dealing with knee soreness and did not play but should be back after spring break.