Friday, August 12, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot boys win tourney

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot High School boys’ golf team played its first match of the season on Aug. 4, and won the North Little Rock Charging Wildcat Invitational with a low score of 301, outpointing second-place NLR by three strokes at The Greens at North Hills golf course in Sherwood.

Sophomore Logan Stephens was the Panthers’ and the match’s lowest scorer, finishing with a 72. Brendon Morton of Bryant finished two strikes behind the Cabot medalist, finishing with a score of 74.

Six different other competitors finished with a score of 75, and two of those scores belonged to Cabot players. Senior Jordan Lott and freshman Caleb Miller each shot a 75 and sophomore teammate Blaine Calhoon also finished with an under-80 score, shooting a 79.

Cabot does have three seniors on its boys’ team, but the bulk of the team is underclassmen, including one junior, six sophomores and one ninth grader.
Lott, Trey Tonnessen and Hayes Barger are the three seniors for the Panthers. Lott returns the most varsity experience of those three, and Tonnessen and Barger will be among those competing for one of the five spots on the varsity team.

Despite the youth on the Panthers, Cabot coach Ronnie Tollett expects this group to be highly competitive this season.

“Our boys will be very competitive,” said Tollett. “If they continue to improve and put it all together they’ll be very competitive.”

Eight schools were represented in boys’ play at the NLR Invitational, with seven of those schools having enough players to qualify for the team scores. Bryant finished third behind Cabot and North Little Rock with 306 team points. Benton was fourth with a score of 308, and Little Rock Catholic rounded out the top five with a score of 321.

Sylvan Hills also competed in the event, and although the Bears didn’t finish in the top five of the team scores, they had two players finish in the low 80s. Nathan Martin shot an 81 to lead the SHHS boys, and teammate Ethan Williamson finished two strikes behind him with a score of 83.

Nine different schools were represented in the girls’ competition at the NLR Invitational, but only two of those schools had enough players to qualify for team scores, one of which was Cabot. Little Rock Christian won the girls’ competition with a low score of 297, while the Lady Panthers finished with a team score of 340.

Lauren Loeb of Mount St. Mary Academy was the only player representing her school, but she won the match with a low score of 80. She finished three strokes ahead of second-place Alexis Montgomery of Maumelle, who finished with a score of 83.

Freshman Hannah Heflin was Cabot’s lowest scorer at the match, finishing with a score of 108.

Lady Panther sophomore Ashley DeSalvo had the second-lowest score for CHS, finishing with a 112 score, and junior Cloe Ann Doyle rounded out the top three for the Cabot girls, finishing with a score of 120.

Like the Cabot boys, the Cabot girls’ team mostly consists of underclassmen with one senior and one junior, seven sophomores and three freshmen.

The Lady Panthers may be inexperienced, but Tollett says the CHS girls continue to improve and will only get better with the experience they gain through the course of the season.

“It was their first tournament, and most of them it was the first time they’d ever played in a tournament,” Tollett said. “We’re only optimistic that they’re going to get a lot better, because a lot of them are just starting out. They’re very young and we’re optimistic that they’re going to improve a lot as the year goes on.”

The Cabot boys’ and girls’ teams will play their next match Thursday at the Red Apple Inn and Country Club in Heber Springs and start time is scheduled for 1 p.m.