By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo may be the two-time defending state champion, but Golden Wave golf coach Mark Enis prefers to take an underdog approach into this week’s Class 6A state championships.
His reasoning is simple.
“We got beat in our own division by DeSoto Central, by one stroke,” he said. “I’d consider us the underdog even though we’ve won two straight state championships.
“The last two weeks we’ve worked on the mental side of our game. Our guys are anxious to play.”
The 36-hole tournament opens today at Cherokee Valley in Olive Branch. The final round is scheduled for Tuesday.
State golf matches are just part of a huge spring sports week that will include tennis and track and field championships, along with state semifinal series in baseball and softball.
Tupelo’s golf team is led by junior Fletcher Johnson, who played in the U.S. Amateur last summer. He’ll be joined in the lineup by sophomores Wilson Reeder and Noah West. All three played on last season’s state title team.
Sophomore Nick Rainey and eighth grader Austin Rose complete the Wave’s starting five.
“Our guys are familiar with this course,” Enis said. “We shot a 1-over-par in a 9-hole match there this year. It was our best score of the season.
“It’s a wide-open course. You’ve got to pick your spots to be aggressive.”
Along with DeSoto Central, Enis expects Northwest Rankin, Madison Central and Oak Grove to contend for the championship.
In other golf action this week, the 4A state championship is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at Wedgewood in Olive Branch while the 3A golf title will be decided the same days at Reunion in Madison.
The 2A state tournament is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at the Natchez Trace while the 5A tournament is Thursday and Friday at the same venue.
The 1A state tournament is scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Beau Pre’ in Natchez.
The state tournament opens today at the Ridgeland Tennis Center and Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson.
Tupelo Christian Prep, in its first season as a member of the MHSAA, will play Hattiesburg Sacred Heart for the Class 1A championship in Ridgeland.
Corinth, a winner of three consecutive state titles, plays St. Andrew’s for the Class 3A championship while Oxford plays Brookhaven for the 5A title.
At Bridges, New Albany plays south champion St. Stanislaus in the 4A championship match.
Play for individual championships in all six classes is scheduled to begin this afternoon at both sites. The semifinals and finals are scheduled for Tuesday.
Track and field
The state championships are spread over two days, Friday and Saturday, at Pearl High School. The events for classes 1A, 3A and 5A will be Friday with 2A, 4A and 6A on Saturday.
The North half championships – state semifinals – will play best-of-three series on Thursday, Friday and, if necessary, Saturday.
The state championship series are set to begin May 25 at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
The North half championships – state semifinals – will play best-of-three series on Thursday and Saturday.
The state championship series are scheduled for May 21-22 at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland.
– Playoff schedules in today’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.