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Golden Eagles golf team relishing success

Courtesy photo The Belpre golf team takes a picture with the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division championship trophy Monday in Athens.

BELPRE — It’s a fun time to be a Belpre High School golfer.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a dominating run through the TVC, and are hoping their success continues into next week’s sectionals.

“We’ve had a good year,” said Belpre senior Jacob Smeeks. “At TVC, a lot of us had good rounds. We’re thankful to win it for the second year in a row.”

Smeeks was the TVC’s Medalist, shooting 39 on the front nine and 41 on the back for a round of 80 Monday at Athens Country Club. Belpre shot 332 as a team, 45 strokes ahead of the next best squad.

“I had a lot of great tee shots, and I was mostly playing irons off the tee,” Smeeks said. “When I was in the range, I wasn’t hitting a very good driver. So, I hit irons off the tee, and it worked for me all day.”

He specifically remembers hole No. 8, a par 3.

“I was down by the water and chipped up 30 to 40 feet from the hole,” Smeeks recalled. “I saved par there.”

Fellow senior Matt Deems finished right behind Smeeks with an 81.

“It’s surreal,” he said. “Being our senior year, and to finish one-two, it was really fun.”

Deems started out struggling on the greens, but “as the day went on the putts started falling,” he said. “I hit my driver pretty well. I hit 12 or 13 fairways. I made a good putt on No. 3, a par 5. I had to putt from the fringe and made birdie.”

While Smeeks and Deems were the top two scorers on the day, all six of Belpre’s golfers finished in the top eight, displaying the team’s overwhelming depth.

“We can all have excellent rounds,” Smeeks said.

Added Deems, “We’re just really talented as a whole. Everybody can shoot well any day of the week.”

Smeeks and Deems were followed by Jacob Ferrier at 85, Blake Church at 86, Connor Copeland at 87 and Carson Moore at 90.

Belpre, led by head coach Jesse Joseph, finished undefeated in TVC play this fall, a remarkable accomplishment, but that’s just step one on the team’s checklist.

“Winning the TVC is one of our smaller goals,” Deems said. “Our main goal is to qualify for the state tournament.”

That journey begins Wednesday at the sectional tournament. The top four teams at the sectional advance to the district tournament, where the winning team will earn a spot at the state tournament.

“We’re feeling good,” Smeeks said. “I believe we have a really good shot at making a run for state this year. If we play how we’ve been all year and play as a team, we should come out on top.”

Waterford finished second at the TVC meet with a score of 377. Gavin Brooker led the Wildcats with an 86, followed by Braxton Lester, Peyton Powers and Jackson Colyer, all of whom shot a 97.

Eastern (385), Southern (422), Federal Hocking (432) and Trimble (476) rounded out the team scores.

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