Zach Wills, here in last year’s IHSA sectional, graduated along with Blake Wolfe, the last players left from the two-time state golf champs.

By Kyle Daubs

Scott Dow does not want this to be the end of an era. 

The last pieces from the core are gone. Blake Wolfe, and Zach Will were the last remaining pieces from the back-to-back state championship teams. Both are gone, as is Taylor Drake, who helped Charleston qualify for the state tournament last year. 

With COVID-19, there was already uncertainty, so it added another layer to this version of a Charleston golf squad that has been dominant over the last six years. 

Dow believes that if there can be state golf in October, the Trojans could be one of those teams.

“The goal every year is to try and get the team to the state tournament,” said Dow. “I definitely have the individual players capable of getting to the state tournament again this year. However, there might not be a state tournament this year, and that does feel different.”

Over the past six seasons, CHS has won more than 90 dual matches, three regional titles, four Apollo Conference titles, two sectional titles, three state berths, and two state championships. 

A push for a fourth state berth will be the focal point for a team with just one senior. Pierson Smith hovered around as the team’s No. 2 golfer in parts of the season. Junior Josh Will missed being All-Apollo by one stroke last year, while junior Jackson Becker was a top-5 golfer on the team.

The team received a splash from one incoming freshman that will certainly receive a lot of attention.

“Preston Phillips is a freshman who qualified as the number four golfer on the team and will have a positive attitude on our team,” said Dow. “He went to state as an eighth-grader when he placed ninth in the state. The three players mentioned in the previous question, all competed in the state tournament last year and continue to improve.”

The Trojans will need Phillips to step up as the battle for the Apollo crown will be a Coles County clash. Mattoon tied Charleston for the IHSA Regional before losing the title on a tiebreaker. At the sectional, the Green Wave also advanced to state as sectional runner-up, compared to Charleston’s third-place finish.

“I know both Mattoon and us are going to be very competitive in winning the conference title,” said Dow. “Mattoon only lost one player from last year.”

Charleston is continuing to feel out its team and accept golfers. According to Dow, three football players have been practicing the past week. Some of those names include seniors Peyton Daughtery, Cade Landrus, and Sam Schuette.

“Really, not much difference,” said Dow. “I am trying to turn it into a positive. Since we have to take a bus and have more matches and less tournaments, I am going to try to play eight players instead of six more often.”

While invitationals won’t have as many teams, Charleston will play in smaller groups, with the exception of the Apollo Conference meet. Dow is hopeful the team can make strides towards a postseason, if there happens to be one.

“My goal is to play an entire season of golf,” said Dow. “Since we aren’t sure about the postseason, my goal has to be for our team to continue to lower our match scores throughout the season. I expect the players that I have gained from football to improve rapidly with increased play.”

ROSTER

Seniors: Sam Cornebise, Peyton Daugherty, Cade Landrus, Sam Schuette, Kurt Seaton, Pierson Smith.

Juniors:  Jackson Becker, Logan Beals, Jaksen Braun, Josh Will

Sophomores: Azzy Brazzell, Judah Bryant, Alex Dow, Wyatt Simpson

Freshmen: Ryland Brady, Jacob Drake, Max Hutti, Preston Phillips, 9

SCHEDULE

DateOpponentLocationTime
8/24JV ONLY Windsor High SchoolBent Tree Golf Course4 PM
8/25MattoonMeadowview Golf Course4 pm
8/26Richland County High SchoolRichland CC4 PM
8/27Mt. ZionCharleston CC4:00 PM
8/28Mt. ZionSouth Side CC4:00 PM
9/3Mattoon, ParisCharleston CC4:00 PM
9/7JV ONLY ArcolaCharleston CC4:00 PM
9/9SullivanSullivan GC4:00 PM
9/10Effingham, Mahomet-SeymourCharleston CC4:00 PM
9/14JV Only Mattoon, Okaw ValleyCharleston CC4:00 PM
9/14Richland County High SchoolCharleston CC4:15 PM
9/16Marshall High SchoolCharleston CC4:00 PM
9/17ShelbyvilleEagle Creek GC4:00 PM
9/18Mt. Zion High School InviteSouth Side CC1:00 PM
9/19Paris InviteEagle Ridge CC8:30 AM
9/21JV ONLY Mattoon, MahometCharleston CC4:00 PM
9/22EffinghamEffingham Country Club4:00 PM
9/25Trojan Golf Fall ClassicCharleston CC1:00 PM
9/28Apollo Conference Boys Golf MeetLincoln Elks Golf Club8:30 AM
9/30JV Only Mattoon, MahometMeadowview GC4:00 PM
9/30TaylorvilleLakeshore Golf Course4:00 PM