Eastside's Taylor Smith and Rockdale's Kayla Kelly spent most of their high school golf careers at or near the top.
In fact, their senior years were no different. Smith and Kelly spent their final seasons in front.
For those reasons, Smith is the Boys Golfer of the Year and Kelly is the Girls Golfer of the Year on the Citizen's 2008 All-Area Golf Team.
Eastside boys golf coach Jay Cawthon is the 2008 Golf Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to its best season in school history.
With a lineup that featured only one senior in Smith, while the rest of the squad was made up of sophomores and freshmen, the Eagles won the Region 8-AAAA championship and finished seventh in the Class AAAA state tournament. The Eastside boys also collected their fourth straight Newton Cup.
· Taylor Smith (Senior, Eastside): Smith was on top of his game all season long, especially in the Region 8-AAAA Tournament where he was low medalist with a 3-under-par 69, which was 11 strokes in front of his nearest competitor. The senior shot a 77 in the state tournament. He averaged a 71 per 18 holes and a 35 per nine holes.
· Landon Cheek (Senior, Newton): Cheek capped off his career at Newton by capturing his third straight low medalist honor in the Region 2-AAAAA Tournament with an even par 71 at The Oaks. At state, the Rams' most consistent golfer shot a 171 over 36 holes.
· Tate Miller (Freshman, Eastside): Miller made a big splash as the Eagles' No. 2 golfer in his first season in varsity competition. He averaged a 78 for 18 holes and a 38 for nine holes.
· Cameron Smith (Senior, Heritage): Smith was Heritage's most consistent golfer all season, posting the team's lowest round in four of its eight tournament. He averaged 80.33 per 18 holes.
· J.T. Blaker (Sophomore, Eastside): Blaker was another young golfer that played a key role in Eastside's run to the Class AAAA state tournament. He averaged an 80 per 18 holes and a 40 per nine holes.
· Brett Whitmire (Senior, Heritage): Whitmire had Heritage's lowest average for 18 holes with an 80. He also produced the Patriots' lowest round in the Region 8-AAAA Tournament with an 84.
· Kayla Kelly (Senior, Rockdale): Kelly capped off her career at Rockdale in grand style. At the Region 8-AAAA Tournament, Kelly finished in second place individually with a 90 as the Lady Bulldogs just missed a trip to the state tournament with a third-place team finish. In the Conyers Cup, Kelly notched her straight individual title by shooting a three-round total of 130 while leading Rockdale to its fifth title in the last six years. She averaged a 44 per nine holes.
· Dari Goldman (Senior, Salem): Goldman made quite a splash for Salem in her first, and only, year on the high school links. The senior finished fourth in the Region 8-AAAA Tournament with a 93. She also placed second behind Kelly in the Conyers Cup, shooting 140 over three rounds. She averaged a 45 per nine holes.
· Ashley Anthony (Senior, Newton): Anthony's consistency as Newton's low scorer helped the Lady Rams capture the Region 2-AAAAA championship, which resulted in her third trip to the Class AAAAA state tournament. She shot a 103 in the region championship.
Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie @rockdalecitizen.com.
SideBar: All-Area Golf Team
Boys Player of the Year
Taylor Smith, Eastside
Girls Player of the Year
Kayla Kelly, Rockdale
Coach of the Year
Jay Cawthon, Eastside
BOYS FIRST TEAM
Taylor Smith (Senior, Eastside)
Landon Cheek (Senior, Newton)
Tate Miller (Freshman, Eastside)
Cameron Smith (Senior, Heritage)
J.T. Blaker (Sophomore, Eastside)
Brett Whitmire (Senior, Heritage)
GIRLS FIRST TEAM
Kayla Kelly (Senior, Rockdale)
Dari Goldman (Senior, Salem)
Ashley Anthony (Senior, Newton)
Alcovy - Matt Moore
Eastside - Ace Cook, Maggie Smith
Heritage - Harrison Elliott,
Newton - Payton Bundy,
Rockdale - Josh Lambo, Alex Madsen
Salem - Erin Knowles, Kyle Reagan