COVINGTON - Alcovy's golf program is still several years away from being a competitive force, but coach Chris Newsham is happy they are headed in the right direction in just its second season.
"The main thing I am pleased with this year is that there's a lot more interest," he said. "For me to develop a program, I've got to have that interest. Hopefully, they'll stick at it and improve. I'm trying to get them enthusiastic so they'll come back again next year. Last year, I only had four guys, so anytime we played, all four scores counted."
This season, the boys team more than doubled, going from four players to nine with the future looking bright as the team has two seniors. Three golfers - seniors Garek Cochran and Jeffrey Hexom and junior Oran Allen - return this season for the Alcovy boys.
New to the team are sophomores Aaron Kizer and Matt Moore and freshmen Garrett Gayton, Drake Potts, Travis Aiken and Johnnie McCoy.
"We've got a young team this year," Newsham said. "Seven of the guys will be coming back, so hopefully we'll be able to progress. Hopefully, at some stage, we'll get competitive and challenge the top teams in the region."
The key to Tigers' success will probably fall with their No. 3 and 4 golfers - Hexom and Allen.
While Cochran and Moore are their best players and expected to shoot around 40, Newsham will need Hexom and Allen to play more consistently for the Tigers to be competitive.
"I would like to see them improve a little bit," Newsham said. "Garek and Matt are probably going to carry the team, and hopefully a couple of the guys from the pack will show some improvement as the season goes on."
The main scorer for the girls is going to be second-year player Etoyus Palomino, the squad's only senior.
Of the other three players on the team, freshman Rebecca Wilson has some experience. However, a two-year layoff only gives her a slight edge over sophomores Elizabeth Alexander and Yancey Clark.
"We've got three new girls again this year. They're excited to be out playing; they're enthusiastic and they want to learn, but it's just going to take time," Newsham said. "They're all pretty much brand new players. It's a lot of work on my part, but it's a challenge that I enjoy. It's rewarding when I see improvement and I saw that last year."
The main things Newsham wants to see this season are a positive attitude and improvement as the season progresses. He said that as the team improves it will give them something to build on for seasons to come.
"My main goal is seeing improvement throughout the season," he said. "The main thing for me is discipline and attitude and everybody being positive. Last year, we had that, even though we weren't competitive."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.
SideBar: At a glance
Team: Alcovy golf
Coach: Chris Newsham, second season
First match: Monday vs. Loganville at Indian Creek