CHS golf team looks to remain competitive

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Central High School’s varsity golf team set a high standard for itself last season, but the Chargers appear to be in good position to maintain that standard despite some key departures due to graduation.

Last year, Central won the Class 1 Region B tournament and placed third in the state.

Head Coach Richard McDaniel entered Tuesday’s season opening match at Briery Country Club with only about a week of prep time with his team of six players.

“It’s been hard to get everybody together,” he said, noting that school does not start for a couple more weeks.

He has some key familiar faces in the lineup, but the Chargers will miss Cary Parrish and Noah Dunbar, who graduated.

Returning this year are twin brothers Joseph and Thomas McDaniel, both of whom are seniors. Junior Cole Williams is back, and junior Mason Elliott, who was sidelined for part of last season with a knee injury, is also back.

Central placed second to perennial James River District champion Randolph-Henry High School on Tuesday, but the Chargers are considered a real threat to end the reign of the Statesmen in the district.

Speaking Monday evening, Coach Mc- Daniel said, “I think tomorrow will probably be a pretty good test, because you know Randolph- Henry is always tough. They haven’t lost a district match in right many years, and last year, we did the same thing. We played them in a non-district match, and that was as close as we came. I think we were within seven or eight strokes of them in that first, but we never got any closer.”

The Chargers were 13 strokes behind Randolph-Henry on Tuesday, but Statesmen Head Coach Kelly Powell clearly communicated his respect for the ability that Central has demonstrated.

Williams led the Chargers on Tuesday with a 40 in the ninehole round. Thomas McDaniel shot a 42, Joseph McDaniel shot a 46 and sophomore Hogan Whitlow shot a 47.

Coach McDaniel noted that Whitlow is a transfer student-athlete from Kenston Forest School and is expected to be a key contributor.

Giving a preliminary evaluation of how his team will perform in the 2018 season, Coach McDaniel said, “I think we’ll do OK. We lost two, but picking up Hogan is a pretty good thing, so I think we’ll still be able to play (at) pretty much the same level we did last year.”

He noted he was not sure what the regional picture will look like since every team changes a little bit every year but added that he feels like the Chargers will be competitive.

As for the third-place finish in the state tournament, “I’d like to think we could match it,” he said. “I’ll be honest with you, the teams at state were … the top team and really the second place team, they were really far ahead of us. It’s just somewhat of a different league, and I’m pretty sure that the first-place team has everybody returning.”

Another new face joining the Central Chargers golf team this year is junior Austin Hall, a member of Central’s highly successful varsity baseball team.

“He’s really never played before, but he’s shown some interest and wants to try to get involved, so he’s going to be coming out,” Coach McDaniel said. “Not sure he’ll play in every match.”

The coach said he does not know who his No. 1 seed will be yet, “because we haven’t had a whole lot of time to get together. My top four will probably be pretty close to each other, that being Joseph, Thomas, Cole and Hogan. But will there be a defined No. 1? I really don’t know.”

The Chargers return to action Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Kinderton Country Club when they face Bluestone and Nottoway high schools.