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The 2020 Barbers Hill boys and girls golf teams return plenty of experience this season. From left the girls will be represented by front row Kara Taylor, Rilan Butts, Ashley Hutton and Sydney Sartor. Back row Micah Thompson, Jillian Puppa, Aspen Emerson and Kaylin McAdams (submitted photo)

It’s year nine in the head coaching tenure of Richard Miles at Barbers Hill and things appear to be on the upswing.

His girls won three tournaments last year and a District 21-5A crown by over 100 strokes and four juniors return from that squad.

The Barbers Hill boys won two tournaments, but finished third in district play and failed to advance to the regional tournament for the first time in six years, a year ago. With five returning seniors, that  result may turn into a temporary blip.

All told, this could end up being quite a campaign for the Eagles.

“The girls have the potential to win our district tournament again this year and be in the hunt to advance out of our region,” Miles said. “Right now we are just trying to get a little bit better every day.

“The challenge for our senior boys this spring is consistency. Our guys team has already won three tournaments this fall and finished second in a fourth, and because of the depth of our team we have not started the same five guys in any of those tournaments.”

The girls are led by Ashley Hutton, who should be in the hunt for an individual district title, and Rilan Butts should challenge for that honor. Katie Strickland and Kara Taylor have both seen major improvements in their short games, and that will result in better scores this spring, according to Miles. 

“We have three freshmen ladies that are all fighting for the fifth varsity spot,” Miles said. “Sydney Sartor, Jillian Puppa, and Cami Fischer each have their own strengths and are working hard to improve their overall skills.”

Henry LeDuc took second at district and moved on the regionals where he battled following a rough first round.

Skylor McAdams and Carson West have been the most consistent scoring seniors this fall for Miles with Carson Hamblin and Hayden Brown providing daily competition and “occasional glimpses of greatness,” according to the Eagles coach

“Sophomore James Watkins has turned into our most consistent solid player, while our two best players have been freshmen sensations,” Miles said. 

Those youngsters are Grant Doggett and Connor Denson who have scoring averages in the 70’s and are already being looked at by college coaches, according to Miles.

“The combination of senior experience paired with young talent makes the spring look very promising,” Miles said. “Our district is very strong and it will take solid golf by the whole team to finish in the top two and advance to the regional tournament.”

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