Teammates reach state tournament
Inseparable on the course — and the scoreboard — Spencer Cross and Ben Huskey will play their final high school tournament together at the state championships.
“It’s awesome,” Cross said. “It’ll be fun going down there together.”
The Sevier County teammates and friends shot 75, with Cross, just a freshman, winning a playoff to finish second at the Region 1-AAA championship on Monday at The Country Club in Morristown. Huskey still took home a third-place medal. Both will tee it up next Tuesday and Wednesday at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s AAA state championship.
“I’ve been stressed all week about it personally just because there’s only four spots,” said Smoky Bears coach Chad Owenby. “It’s hard to make it. … I’m on cloud nine that both of them made it.”
Seymour’s Katelyn Witucki made the girls field with an 83 on the par-72 course. The Eagles’ Wesley Jones missed the boys cut, firing 86.
Dobyns-Bennett won the boys team title with a 309. Sevier County shot 342, getting a 95 from Trey Bierman, a 97 from Dallas Bush and a 101 from Jordan Strange. Cherokee’s Kodey Popplewell earned the individual crown with a 73.
Science Hill won the girls team title with a 155 led by champion Allison Woodward’s 75.
Witucki said she was pleased with her round after a tough district tournament on the same course a week earlier.
“My game wasn’t perfect,” Witucki said. “I definitely could’ve changed some shots. I think I putted a lot better and my chips got closer to the hole. I didn’t get into any hazards. That really helped.”
Jones wrapped up his season 10 strokes out of the state tournament. After one bad hole on the back nine hurt him last week, Jones said he had a difficult time after the turn on Monday.
“I just couldn’t keep it in play,” Jones said. “I didn’t putt well. It was just a bad day.”
It wasn’t a smooth day for Cross and Huskey, either. Cross shot a six on the par-3 17th while Huskey needed an eagle on 16 to stay on track.
The senior made the turn at 4-over after two double bogeys on the last three holes off the front nine. He said he didn’t play particularly well on the back until he reached 16.
“It’s my last year,” Huskey said. “I knew it was going to be last three holes of high school. I said, ‘It’s time to step it up.’ I hit a good shot and made eagle.”
Cross was in fine shape until that triple bogey on the 17th. He recovered nicely, getting a par on the 18∫th to force a low-key playoff with his good friend. The two were headed to state. That was all that mattered.
“I was relaxed,” Cross said. “I knew both of us were going to get in anyway. There wasn’t much pressure.
“Just having fun.”