Coming into the 2013 season, the expectations for the Matoaca golf team were high. Losing no one to graduation, the team of 19 was loaded to the brim with both experience and talent. Head Coach John Hall and his top six golfers played all the way to the state tournament this year, and after a day one team lead, the Warriors finished as the division 5A state-runner ups in their first state appearance in school history.
“We faced challenging teams during sectionals and state,” said senior Matthew Padgett. “But we supported each other and were able to put together solid rounds.”
The team’s support of each other and their balance was perhaps the most vital piece to the team’s success. All six of Matoaca’s “active roster” (of 19 team members, only six can compete at any given time) were medalists at various events throughout the year. That balance helped them to compete well as a team in terrible conditions and still fight through to advance.
“We have 7-12 players that could be anywhere from a 2-4 on other teams,” stated Hall. “It’s tough knowing that only six could play each time,” he continued. “We are truly a family, there is support up and down this roster.”
Junior Samuel Smith was one of the leaders on the team this season. An athlete, Smith also letters in baseball and basketball as well.
“It takes awhile to get him back into golf mode,” explained Hall.
Smith, an All-Region performer shot a first round 71 at Meadowbrook Country Club on day one of the state tournament to trail the leader and eventual winner, Lyberty Anderson of Manchester, by two strokes. While Smith and many of his teammates had a tougher second day, they were able to finish nine strokes behind state champion Deep Run.
Though coming up short in 2013, Matoaca will return Smith, Peyton Broach and Davis Topping next year, while Padgett, Paul Harris and Bret Lockett will graduate. With the youth and talent at the “bottom” of the Matoaca roster they should have a number of willing and able golfers to step in and have a productive 2014.
“Smith, Broach and Davis all return next year,” said Hall. “They have already expressed an interest in going back and finishing the job.”
Hall, a self proclaimed “old guy” said that it’s not typical for someone his age to wish away his life.
“This team and it’s prospects continue to be the athletic love of my life,” stated Hall. “I can’t wait until August.”
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