Unioto seeks to recapture SVC golf title

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Unioto Golf
The Scioto Valley Conference first introduced golf as a league sport in the fall of 1993.  For the remainder of that decade, the Unioto golf program dominated the links, capturing eight straight titles.  Since then, Unioto has remained a force in the SVC and in southern Ohio high school golf, but ater watching Piketon grab the last three SVC titles, the Tanks are eager to be back on top. 


The Scioto Valley Conference first introduced golf as a
league sport in the fall of 1993. 
For the remainder of that decade, the Unioto golf program dominated the
links, capturing eight straight titles. 
Since then, Unioto has remained a force in the SVC and in southern Ohio
high school golf, but improving programs like Westfall, Huntington, and most
recently Piketon – who is the current owner of the past three league titles –
has Unioto entering the upcoming season eager to reclaim the top spot. Head
coach Dan Drummond has led the Unioto golf program for the past two decades,
and even though he is excited about the growth of high school golf in southern
Ohio, he admits that he and his kids are anxious to retain supremacy in the
SVC.

“I think it is great to see how high school golf continues
to grow around southern Ohio and in the SVC,” Drummond said. “I am excited how
our numbers in our program continue to grow as well.  Hopefully, we can get back on track and return to the top of
the league this year.  The kids
have said finishing second place hasn’t been much fun, and they have worked
hard this summer and seem ready to go.”

The Shermans will be led by senior Tyler Hammond. Last fall,
Hammond captured the league’s player of the year honor, and his round of 74 at
Cooks Creek Golf Course was good enough to make him tops in the district as
well (Huntington’s Jordan Flack -who now is a member of the Capital golf
program – finished second, two strokes behind). During Hammond’s senior
campaign, he hopes to return to the state tournament and improve on last year’s
23rd place finish, but more importantly he hopes some of his friends
can join him this time around.

Hammond, who was recently named co-captain by Drummond, will
share the leadership responsibilities with classmate Clinton Brown.  Brown and junior Caleb Stidham both
joined Hammond on the All-SVC squad a year ago, and should move up to the top
half the Sherman lineup to solidify its top three spots.

The biggest question marks will be filling the holes that
were left by the graduation of two all-league performers.  Unioto must replace two sport star
Caleb Walls (also an all-league football player), as well as Cody Burdett if
the Tanks hope to return to championship status. 

Drummond is confident that some of his newcomers from last’s
junior varsity and junior high squads can step-up and push the Tanks over the
top.  Senior Spencer Patino, junior
Ryan Welch and sophomore Cory Porter all start a list that is long and capable
of earning varsity time. Unioto continues to develop talent year after
year.  The head coach credits his
coaching staff for helping develop the younger kids.  Drummond is assisted by Tony Taylor and also gets some help
at the junior high level from Ron Hammond and Nathan Caplinger – an all-league
performer for Drummond during Unioto’s dominate run.

“We are going to take a long, deep look to try and fill the
bottom spots in our lineup,” said Drummond who led his Shermans to back-to-back
state tournament appearances in 2001 and 2002. “We have a lot of good prospects
that can really play the game, but they are untested at this point.”

Unioto will start their run at an SVC title on Friday,
August 17th when all eight league teams tee it up at Unioto’s home
course, Jaycee Golf Course in Chillicothe, Ohio.  The SVC will visit several golf courses in Pickaway, Ross
and Pike Counties, such as Crown Hill Golf Course in Williamsport, Valley Vista
Golf Course in Bainbridge, Running Fox Golf Course in Chillicothe, Big Beaver
Golf Course in Piketon, and Dogwood Hills Golf Course in southern Ross County.

“I think we really have some good talent throughout our high
school golf program, and I am also excited about some of the upcoming talent I
see in the junior high,” Drummond said. “Hopefully, we have the pieces in place
to start another run in the league. 
We know we have to continue to work hard and play our best, but that is
our goal.”

Along with the goal of winning the league, Drummond says his
kids are also anxious to go a step further in the division II tournament this
season.

“Some of the kids we are returning have tasted the
experience of playing in the district tournament,” said Drummond. “I think this
team has a goal of first winning the league, but they also have high hopes of
having a successful tournament run as well.”

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