|Bluebird golfers have high hopes in 8th Region Tournament|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. The Highlands Bluebirds golf team plays in the 8th Region Tournament at Laurel Oaks in Maysville on Tuesday.|
"They do a good job. They're coachable," said Bert Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "The best thing I like about them is they're improved since the first part of the year with the management of the course. We hope to carry that into the region."
The Bluebirds have not won a region crown in a while but 2015 graduate Parker Harris qualified for state individually a couple years in a row. The 8th Region tournament is Tuesday at Laurel Oaks in Maysville. Grant County is the favorite to win it again, but Mason County, Bourbon County and Bishop Brossart could also compete with Highlands to be the second team from the region to go to the state tournament.
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Teams play nine holes in matches. Five players go to the region tournament and team scores are made of the top four scores. After the two team qualifiers, the top three individuals also make it to the state tournament.
Highlands has three seniors on the team. They are Brian Schoepf, Tyler Spicer and Matthew Crockett.
"They've done well at providing leadership," Richey said. "They keep the team morale up and make sure they have the proper etiquette."
Highlands will be taking two eighth graders, two sophomores and a junior to the region tournament. Richey said 10 golfers alternate playing team in each match. The five going to region are junior Aaron Verst, sophomores Ryan Leigh, Steven Grimme and eighth graders Justin Gabbard and Luke Muller.
"I really think we're supporting each other during the matches," Gabbard said. "We're hoping that our teammates get good scores. Like at the beginning of the year, we were thinking more individually about ourselves. Now, we're more team players."
Highlands practiced at Laurel Oaks on Saturday and Sept. 10. That made them more familiar with the layout of the course.
"These kids have worked hard," Richey said. "The team is pretty young. But we feel we have a chance to qualify for state. If nothing else, hopefully, they can build for the future."
Louisville St. Xavier is once again the favorite to win state. The Tigers own a state-record 20 state championships including the last two years. West Jessamine won two in a row in 2012 and 2013.