Polk County Middle now boasts the best boys golf team in the Blue Ridge Conference.
The Wolverines won the BRC conference title for the first time in 10 years on Tuesday, claiming the postseason tournament with a dominant performance.
Polk Middle finished with a two-day total of 342 to win the title by 17 strokes over Rugby. It is the school’s first conference title since 2009.
Given that Polk Middle’s program had gone dormant until being revived by head coach Matthew Russell in the fall of 2016, the championship is even more remarkable.
“I just want to say how proud I am of these kids,” Russell said. “They’ve put in an insane amount of work to get to this point and when the lights were brightest, they rose to the occasion.”
The Wolverines spent most of the 2017 season practicing on the school’s football field, hitting iron shots at a trash can and playing just one match. They started working out at local courses in 2018, played in a dozen matches and finished fourth in the conference.
And now, they’re the BRC’s best.
Seventh grader Avery Harden fired a 38 in Tuesday’s final round at Hendersonville COuntry Club to notch a two-day total of 81 and finish as the conference runner-up, six shots behind Rugby’s Jamal Hutchinson.
Evan Jones finished with an 82, Casey Beiler had an 86 and Reiily Yoder notched a 93 as the Wolverines had four golfers in the top eight.
Eighth graders Beiler, Yoder and Anthony Lancaster were part of the first team when Russell restarted the team.
“This year it all came together,” Russell said. “Evan Jones joined the golf team, after months of begging, and really helped push us over the top.
“These kids love the game of golf and love playing together. It is a truly special group and I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to be their coach.”