Friday, July 31, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot golf team young, talented

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot High School golf team held tryouts this week in preparation for the upcoming high school golf season, which begins for the Cabot boys on Wednesday at the Conway Country Club golf course.

With tryouts wrapping up for the boys and the girls beginning their tryouts on Monday, there wasn’t a lot CHS head coach Ronnie Tollett could say about this year’s group – other than it will be a youthful one.

“There’s not much I can tell you right now, other than the fact that we’re going to be young,” said Tollett. “We’ll be really competitive. We’ve got some young players that are good players for their age.

“It depends on how much they progress. Our top five looks like we’re going to be one 11th grader, a 10th grader and three ninth graders.”

The Cabot boys had four of their top five golfers graduate in the spring, and the one of those top five varsity golfers returning to the team this year is Jordan Lott. The Panthers only have two other golfers returning to the boys’ team this year in Matt Walters and Hayes Barker, who spent the majority of their time last year playing on the Panthers’ JV squad.

Despite the vast majority of his male golfers being young and unproven at the high school level, though, Tollett likes what he’s seen thus far from the youthful group.

“One of our better players is returning in Jordan Lott,” Tollett said. “We’ve got some ninth graders that aren’t proven yet, but they’ve been playing the junior circuit and competing well on the junior circuit. We’re young and eager right now – young and eager.”

Tollett said around 20 boys tried out for the team this past week, which is a typical numbers range for the Cabot boys. Tollett says he doesn’t expect that many to show up for the girls’ tryouts next week, and although he doesn’t know for sure just how competitive his teams will be, he believes both the boys’ and girls’ teams should compete very well throughout the season.

“Of course, you never know what all of your competition is going to be like,” Tollett said, “but I think we’ll be very competitive. How competitive is to be determined, but I’m very optimistic. I think they have the potential to do very well.”

Though it’s obviously too early to tell who the 7A teams to beat will be, for both boys and girls, Tollett has a good idea of who will be among the most competitive teams they’ll face this year.

“Conway’s program is always strong,” Tollett said. “North Little Rock’s program has vastly improved over the last couple of years. Central, I don’t know a lot about them. I don’t know much about the other schools as far as who graduated and what they have coming back, but I’ll have a better picture after next week.

“We’re going to go and compete at Conway in a tournament and then at North Little Rock in a tournament, and we’ll have a better idea of how we stack up.”

The Cabot girls do have three girls returning to the Lady Panthers golf team in senior Danielle O’Shields, Haley Morris and Sierra Harrell. Despite being inexperienced at the high school level, Tollett says the foundation for future success has been laid and that the future indeed looks bright for the CHS golf program.

“I think we’re going to be solid,” Tollett said. “Our foundation is pretty solid for several years to come. For three or four years, our foundation is solid. We have some younger kids coming up that can play.”

After the Cabot boys’ first match of the year on Wednesday, they’ll play another in North Little Rock on Thursday.

The CHS girls’ first match is scheduled toward the end of the month in Heber Springs.