The first sport to open in the new school year is always golf and the local high school teams are set to tee off on Monday of next week. Both Lord Botetourt and James River will have matches to open the 2022 season.
LB will be in Lynchburg for the annual John Scott Invitational, hosted by Heritage High School, beginning at 1 p.m. The event draws some of the top schools in the area and is traditionally the first big event of the season.
The Cavaliers graduated some solid players last year but have a good one returning in senior Ashton Harper. One of the top players in the area, Ashton has committed to play at Virginia Tech after graduating from LB.
After Harper, coach Todd Smith is looking for some golfers to step up from a group that includes Cadyn Bowles, Xavier Shelton, Tyler Meade and Hunter Duncan. Spots are open in the starting lineup.
“They all played in a few matches last year and did well,” said Smith. “We don’t have any particular newcomers that will be coming in, but a bunch of guys that didn’t get many opportunities last year will need to step up and play well this year. A lot is going to come from how much they have been playing this summer and how hard they work.”
After losing four of the top five last year the Cavaliers find themselves in a rebuilding mode.
“Hopefully, we will get stronger as the season moves forward and they gain experience and confidence,” said Smith. “We’d like to be playing our best golf at the end of the season and see what happens.”
James River will also open Monday with a Three Rivers District match hosted by Alleghany. Senior Ryan Steger is the top returnee for coach Donna Cox.
“Several golfers have been working hard on their game since last season,” said Cox. “I expect the team to be a strong one this year. Ryan Steger, Heath Andrews, Dylan Hicks, Haden Parker and Sam Bell should be starters to watch this year.”
River also has some youth on the horizon who Cox expects to contribute in the near future.
“I’m excited to grow our JV program this year,” she said. “The JV team should be led by Landon Bolling and Mason Gilliland, both strong Junior PGA players.”
A highlight of the early season will be the Metro Botetourt Invitational, scheduled for August 9 at the Botetourt Golf & Swim Club. It will draw most of the top teams in the Roanoke Valley for a one-day tournament.
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