By Steve Williams
Alex Hodge knows about the Halls High boys golf program’s history.
“They won the state in 1986,” he said right off when asked.
That state championship was actually Halls’ first-ever in any team sport, although the Red Devils would add a Class AAA state football crown that fall.
Thirty years later, Coach Bill Warren’s Red Devils will be trying to capture the second state golf championship for their school this week at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester. The 36-hole, two-day tourney starts Tuesday.
Hodge may be the lone senior on Halls’ Region 2-AAA championship team, but he and junior teammates share the leadership duties.
“I’d say everything is pretty equal because we all have about the same experience,” pointed out Hodge. “I didn’t play much my freshman year, so we all have three years under our belt.”
Making up the Halls team in addition to Hodge are juniors Ryan Hall, Jake Hall (no relation), Anthony Basilio and Will Collins.
The 1986 Halls team, coached by David Wayland, shot a 617 and won the state by 12 strokes at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill. Kelly Carmichael, a senior, led that team with a seven-over-par 151. Other team members were junior Donnie Cooper, freshman Mike Dreier and senior Jimmy McElhaney. Cooper would go on to capture the individual state title in 1987.
Farragut had tied Chattanooga Notre Dame for the 1985 state crown and was led by KIL Player of the Year Jimmy Johnston in 1986. But the Admirals’ hopes of an outright state title ended at Deane Hill Country Club in Knoxville that year when Halls came from behind to take the Region 2 crown by one stroke.
Halls’ region champion girls team of Shelby Liford, Harper Cherry and Savannah Johnson also will be competing in the state tournament this week.
REGION 1-AAA: Science Hill boys and Tennessee High girls took top team honors Tuesday (Oct. 4) at Blackthorn Club in Jonesborough to advance to state.
The Lady Vikings, led by medalist Addison Baggarly’s 76, finished with a one-stroke advantage over Dobyns-Bennett.
Defending state champion Spencer Cross of Sevier County, a UT commitment, captured the boys’ crown with a two-under-par 70.
Seymour’s Katelyn Witucki shot an 82 to also qualify for the state tourney.