By Mike Blackerby
State medalist honors in the Division I – Small Class tournament is fast becoming the domain of the Alcoa High School boys.
For the second year in a row, an Alcoa golfer took honors Wednesday at WillowBrook in Manchester, Tenn., on the state’s biggest stage for prep golf.
Tornadoes junior Braedon Wear shot his second-consecutive 3-under-par 69 to finish at 138 for the tournament.
That was four shots better than runner-up Evan Woosley-Reed (72-70) of Cascade.
Gatlinburg-Pittman senior Ethan Hays (71-74–145) was third.
Alcoa’s Gabriel Hunter, who won the 2017 state individual championship, finished his high school career with a fourth-place (72-74–146) showing.
Wear carved up the front nine, making birdies on three of the first five holes on his way to a 3-under 33.
He was rock solid on the back nine, with one birdie and one bogey for a par 36.
Meanwhile, the Tornadoes came up just short in their bid to successfully defend their team title.
Signal Mountain carded a two-day total of 39-over 615 to edge Alcoa (618) by three strokes.
Alcoa was also going after its third team championship in the last six years.
Bryce Barber recorded an 83 and Connor Landers shot 84 to round out the Tornadoes’ team scoring on Wednesday.
Several other golfers from the 5Sstar Preps coverage area turned in superlative efforts at the tournament.
McMinn Central senior John Houk shot 151 (74-44) to finish seventh.
Nathaniel Vaughan of Pigeon Forge followed his opening-round 78 with a 77 to shoot 155 and tie for ninth.
Aaron Johns of Gatlinburg-Pittman went 76-80 (156) to tie for 11th.
The local spotlight in the Division I – Small Class girls’ state tournament was grabbed by sophomore Madilyn Newman of L&N Stem Academy.
Newman totaled 157 (13-over) for the tournament, opening with a 76 and closing with an 81 to place third.
Summertown sophomore Kaley Campbell was medalist with a 4-over 148 (75-73).
Second place went to Lindsey Hollis of Signal Mountain with a 154 (75-79).
Summertown claimed the girls’ team championship with a plus-25 total of 313.
L&N was second at 343 after shooting a 173 on the final day.
Sydney Rockwell’s 92 accounted for the Gryphons’ other scoring on Wednesday.
Cumberland Gap was sixth at 365, with junior Carley Downhour (fifth, 76-86–162) leading the way for the Panthers.
Pigeon Forge junior Jordan Bouyoucas captured sixth place, carding a sterling 78 on Wednesday to finish at 166.
Sophomore Campbell Penland of Northview Academy tied for seventh, shooting 80-87 for a 167.