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Indians' van der Biest, Science Hill boys claim state crowns

Jeff Birchfield • Sep 26, 2018 at 6:15 PM

MANCHESTER — Dobyns-Bennett sophomore Isabella van der Biest captured the Tennessee Large Schools girls' individual state golf championship, and her Lady Indians finished third in the team standings after Wednesday's final round was rained out.

By TSSAA rule, the results reverted back to the last completed 18-hole round. It meant the Lady Indians, whose other members were Katerina Scott and Erin Colhoun, finished just one stroke behind runner-up Houston and seven strokes behind state champion Station Camp.

On the boys' side, Science Hill won the state championship 291-304 over Farragut. The Hilltoppers' Jackson Skeen posted a 1-under 71 to earn individual co-champion with Lance Simpson of Farragut.

For the girls' individual results, van der Biest's round of 5-under 67 gave her a one-stroke victory over Station Camp's Lynn Lim for the individual medalist honors.

"I'm glad I pulled my game together to shoot a 67, which is the best round I've shot all year," van der Biest said. "I felt good when I woke up, and I just had a good feeling that my rhythm was good. I was hitting my irons really close to the pin — inside of 10 feet — so I had a chance at birdie at almost every hole. I just made a lot of birdies."

She had six birdies to be exact, with four coming on the course's back nine — where she shot a 32.

"It couldn't have happened to a better person," Dobyns-Bennett coach Bill Darnell said about van der Biest's championship. "She came down here last year as an individual and had a rough first round. This year she had the mind-set she was going to play her best, and she certainly did. She went 17 holes without a bogey."

Scott finished with a round of 84 for the other score that counted. The Lady Indians swept the conference, district and region tournaments before coming just one stroke shy of finishing state runner-up.

"Those girls have something to be proud of. They accomplished a great deal this year," Darnell said. "If we hadn't had the rainout, we would have liked to had the opportunity to brought home a state championship. But they really had a great season."

Kara Carter of Sullivan South finished 10th in the individual competition with a 4-over 76.

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Skeen, a junior, had four birdies in his round of 71, the final one coming on the par-3, hole No. 17 to share individual medalist honors. He led Science Hill to its fourth boys golf state championship, the first since 2003.

"It's just an incredible feeling. I'm so proud of everyone," Skeen said. "Honestly, if I had finished last and we still would have won as a team, I would have been fine with that. This team means everything to me, and it's such a special moment for all of us. Twenty years from now, we can look back and say we were state champs."

Sean Anderson came through with an even-par 72 to finish third individually. The Hilltoppers got other scores of 73 from Gavin Nickels and 75 from Tarun Hoskere for their total. Carter Counts had a round of 82, which did not count toward the team total.

"It really is a team effort," Science Hill coach Kevin Vannoy said. "Our record was 91-1 for the season. Collectively, we had the best team around. When one individual would shoot higher than normal, the other guys would pick up the slack. That was the strength of our team and it was that way all year long."

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