It keeps getting better for Ashland’s boys golf program.
After three consecutive State Tournament appearances, including back-to-back regional titles, the Tomcats added an individual champion to the list Tuesday.
Junior Evan Cox put together a sizzling stretch on the back nine following a long rain delay at Hidden Cove Golf Course.
Cox finished with a 2-under par 70 to earn medalist honors at the Region 12 Tournament and lead Ashland to a regional three-peat.
“Being part of all three, it’s been tremendous,” Cox said. “I feel fortunate to have teammates like I have the last three years. We always seem to come together at the perfect time.”
It’s been a big year for Cox and the Tomcats, who have now won five tournaments this season. Not bad for a squad that lost three seniors from last year’s sixth-place State Tournament team. All three are playing college golf.
The latest regional team title was nothing but sweet for coach Bob Blankenship and his players.
“It’s very special,” Blankenship said. “They did an excellent job. Coming into this season, I really thought if we could sneak in and get second place, it would be an accomplishment. Winning a third straight regional is remarkable, especially losing three quality players.”
Returners Cox and Nick Blankenship have more than taken up the slack with help from Thomas Hall, Logan Jones and Tate Justus.
Ashland, which sharpened its skills this season against a top-notch schedule, shot 305 on Tuesday to win by 16 shots in a 16-team field.
Competition was interrupted just after noon due to lightning, as showers soaked the area for almost three hours.
Cox resumed play on No. 12 and promptly birdied three of the next five holes to get to 4-under par.
“I was hitting the ball well all day,” he said. “I wish we wouldn’t have had a rain delay, but at the same time I’m glad we did. Three birdies in five holes, it’s the first time I’ve ever done something like that.”
Cox rolled in a 45-footer on No. 15 and then stuck an excellent approach on the middle of the 16th green to set up an 8-foot birdie putt.
Two days earlier, he shot 72 at Hidden Cove to win a Regional Preview that included practically all of the region field. Cox also won the early season Greenup County Invitational on the same course.
“It’s always a fun place to play,” he said. “I love it.”
Ashland’s coach called Cox’s round exceptional.
“Evan plays such a smart round of golf,” Blankenship said. “As far as course management, he’s one of the best kids I’ve had. He hits his clubs pure. He has a natural talent for the game.
“Even with that, we needed the other kids to play well, and they did.”
Nick Blankenship shot 76, good for fifth overall.
“I didn’t play well after the break,” said Blankenship, who was 1-under before the delay. “But it was still a good round. We won, so I can’t complain.”
Jones, a sophomore, came through with a 78 for one of his best efforts and Hall shot 81.
“It feels really good,” Jones said. “I was pretty down after I shot a 96 here the other day. I’ve had the potential all year. It’s neat for it to come out sometime.”
Russell is also headed to the State Tournament after posting a 321 score to edge Greenup County by one shot for the No 2 spot.
Coach Perry Yates said the team got together at the Greenbo Lake campground for a meal and meeting Monday after a lackluster showing Saturday.
“We talked about grinding it out, no matter what,” Yates said. “All year long I thought we had the ability, and today we did it.”
Bobby Thomas triggered the Red Devils with a 1-under 71 for his second consecutive regional runner-up finish.
“Bobby is just such a great kid,” Yates said. “His work ethic is out of this world. He’s even keel. He doesn’t get too high or too low.”
Said Thomas: “I played real solid all day. It feels awesome our team finally gets to go to state.”
Sam McGuire added a 75, followed by Johnny McGuire (85) and Kyle Gross (90).
West Carter’s Kyle Brown led individual qualifiers with a 73, good for third overall. Greenup County’s Kadin Ashley and Montgomery County’s Aaron Vice won a playoff for the other two spots after they were part of a group at 77 that also included Elliott County’s Ryan Gillum and Bath County’s Darren Carpenter.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2671.
Junior Evan Cox leads Tomcats to Region 12 title for 3rd year in row
It keeps getting better for Ashland’s boys golf program.
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Locals struggle to make impact
Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug.
It is a saying that proved to be all too true for Rowan County on Friday night at the KHSAA Class 2A State Track and Field Championships at the University of Louisville’s Owsley Frazier Cardinal Park.
Fairview senior Kennedy Womack wasn’t her consistent self in Saturday morning’s state tennis semifinals at the University of Kentucky’s Hilary Boone Tennis Complex.
As a result, the top seed fell to Lexington Sayre sophomore Madeline Rolph 6-1, 6-0.
Womack was obviously disappointed with her finish, especially after losing in last year’s state finals, but she was happy for her good friend Rolph.
If Fairview could have fielded a combined track and field team at Saturday’s Class A State Track and Field Championships, the Eagles and Lady Eagles would have had a record day. Instead, the Fairview girls had to “settle” for fifth, while the boys’ claimed 10th.
Womack eliminated in semifinals
Top-seeded Kennedy Womack was eliminated in the semifinals of the State Tournament on Saturday at the University of Kentucky tennis courts.
It looked for a while that a questionable call may have determined the outcome of the game, but in the end, it was just an afterthought.
Boyd County finds senior spark
Losers of four straight, Boyd County was searching for something positive Friday night before beginning postseason play Monday night.
Doubles teams head to semis at state tourney
With rain staying away, the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament got into full swing on Friday afternoon.
Semifinals and finals will be held today at the University of Kentucky Boone/Downing Tennis Complex for boys and girls singles competitions.
McKnight hurdling to Georgetown
Fairview’s Paige McKnight is known for jumping hurdles. She cleared a pretty big one on Thursday.
In front of friends and family at Fairview Elementary School, McKnight signed a letter of intent to run track for Georgetown College.
Several area schools will be represented at State Track and Field championships
Local track and field athletes are ready to try to carry region competition success onto the state stage.
Several area schools will be represented at this weekend’s State Track and Field championships at the University of Louisville. The Class 2A meet is set for today at 3:15 p.m. and Class A competition is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 8:15 a.m.
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