Trip to state tournament is a dream come true for GRC boys golf

Published 10:25 am Thursday, October 5, 2023

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It’s not every year that the George Rogers Clark High School boys golf team – one of nine left standing – competes at the state tournament in Bowling Green.

When the 2023 KHSAA State Golf Championships happen this Friday and Saturday, it will be their first appearance in approximately ten years.

So, special occasions call for special honors.

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Just before 1:00 p.m. at the Winchester Country Club on Boone Avenue on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the six players representing GRC were recognized as they left for western Kentucky to participate in the tournament.

“We’re confident. We feel like we have an opportunity to go down there and do well that’s our goal,” said head coach Brandon Franklin. “We’re going to try to go down there and bring back a trophy. Most importantly, though, we just want the guys to have fun and enjoy the experience.”

Of the six players making the trip to Bowling Green, freshman Oliver Hutchinson will be an alternate.

Junior Evan Taylor will also compete, as will seventh-grader Knox Taylor (no relation), one of the youngest competitors statewide.

The other three golfers – Jacob Settles, Jace Patrick, and multi-sport athlete Clay Turley – are all seniors.

Not only that, but they have championship-level experience, as they represented a state-championship squad while competing at the middle school level.

“They’ve been a huge part of the program from the beginning. They [have] worked their tails off for a very long period of time,” Franklin added. “We’re very fortunate Knox Taylor is a seventh grader, and he’s doing really, really well. He’s done great all year, which has helped us get to this point.”

Settles mentioned that, ever since their finish as eighth graders, state-level competition has been on the radar for him and many of his teammates.

“It’s kind of always something we dreamed about, so we’re excited to have the chance to do it,” Settles said.

During their 9th Region tournament, the team finished runner-up to defending state champion Madison Central.

Also competing in the 9th Region are teams such as Lexington Catholic, Frederick Douglass, Lexington Christian Academy and Scott County.

After advancing to the semi-state tournament at Winchester Country Club, the host Cardinals finished as runners-up, with Madison Central and Rockcastle County coming in first- and third place, respectively.

While excited, Coach Franklin also acknowledged some mixed feelings.

“I’ve been with [the seniors] for a while, so it’s kind of bittersweet that it’s coming to a close,” Franklin said.

However, he also expressed pride with a crowd that included GRC Principal Luke Toy, Athletic Director Terry Yeast, and girls golf head coach Mike Rogers present.

“We just appreciate everything, and we’re [going to] go down there and represent the school and the community,” Franklin said.