The RHS girls golf team finishes runner-up at the Chesley Oaks Tournament in Cullman.

RHS girls golf readies for another try for state

Following up on a 2016 appearance at state, the Russellville High School girls golf team is capitalizing on a foundation of success by continuing to develop an excellent program – which is marked by only one loss this season.

Ashton Moore earns All-Tournament Medalist at the Chesley Oaks tourney.

The girls golf program finished fourth at state last year and is back this year with greater depth, returning all five student athletes from last season. In a season that began Feb. 27, the seasoned Golden Tiger girls have lost only once, to Red Bay, 92 to 90. The team has played the cross-county rival twice this season and beat the opposing Tigers 84 to 90 in the preceding game. Their only other loss this season, in tournament play at the Chesley Oaks Tournament, was to White Plains, the 2016 state champion. RHS came in runner-up at Chesley Oaks among 12 teams competing.

With resounding talent on the veteran team, the key strategy this season has just been the age-old “practice, practice, practice.”

“Short game is key,” said second-year coach Deedra Moore. Chipping and putting have been a focus for the girls.

In nine games, RHS high school players Ashton Moore, Carley Grace McCalpin, Bailey Tubb, Morgan Moon and Josie Willis are averaging 46.6, 49.9, 51.4 and 52.2 strokes, respectively. They can each pinpoint areas where they have made personal improvements over last season.

“I’ve always three-four-putted, and I’ve cut it down a little to two-putt,” McCalpin, sophomore, commented.

“I’ve definitely gotten to the green better,” Moon, sophomore, added. Sophomore Willis notes a better swing, and Moore, junior, finds she can hit the ball farther than she could last year.

“All their scores have improved,” Coach Moore noted. “They’re hard-workers. They’re out at Twin Pines every day practicing.”

Remaining games before section are Lawrence County April 20 and the Scottsboro Invitational tournament April 24, where they will get their first look at the course for substate.

“New this year in our section are Scottsboro and Arab, so we don’t really know much about Scottsboro, but we will see them in their invitational,” Moore said. “We did see Arab at Chesley Oaks (April 5), and they were right behind us.”

Middle school golfers, who compete only at home games, are Alayna Fish and Kylee Plott, both eighth graders.

Section games will be May 2 in Decatur; substate, featuring the top four from section, will be held in Scottsboro May 8; and the state tournament is set for Auburn May 15-16.

“Chris Moon helps me as a volunteer coach. He has been a huge asset to the program by helping me with coaching but especially helping the girls with their golf skills,” Coach Moore added.

The Lady Golden Tigers feel pretty good about their chances to return to the championship game – and given the opportunity, they will be ready to play competitively.

“Last year was very unnerving for them. It was the first time we had been to state, and we just didn’t know what to expect,” Coach Moore said. “It was a little overwhelming, so I think the nerves got the best of them. This year we’ll be more prepared.

“I’m very proud of them.”

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