Devils’ Thomas qualifies for district

By Paul Boggs -

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Kaden Thomas was the Gallia Academy boys golf program’s sole senior this season.

How fitting, then, that he gets to continue his links career for at least another week.

That’s because Thomas was the only member of the Blue Devils to advance to the Division II district tournament, as he took the third-to-last individual qualifying spot at Tuesday’s sectional meet at the Portsmouth Elks Country Club.

The district meet will be his first, and final, career appearance in that round.

Thomas was one of five Blue Devils to compete at the sectional, as Gallia Academy — as a team — placed seventh overall and missed qualifying for the district by a mere five strokes.

The Blue Devils, with all four of their counting scores breaking an even 100, dialed up a team tally of 377.

Unfortunately, they were not one of the top five squads, as the final qualifying ticket went to Wheelersburg with a 372.

Chesapeake, which placed sixth, was just two strokes back with a 374.

Speaking of Chesapeake, the Panthers’ Austin Jackson was involved in a playoff with Thomas — along with Brayden Easterling of Ironton.

All three fired an 88 for 18 holes, all finished tied for 14th, and all three advanced to the district meet after finishing as three of the top five individuals not on a qualifying club.

Thomas, who posted a 43 on the Elks front nine and a 45 on the back, took third as a result of the playoff — while Easterling was fourth and Jackson fifth.

Easterling joined James Carter of Ironton as an individual qualifier, who was one stroke ahead with an 87.

William Sturgill of Portsmouth posted a 77 to take the first individual spot and third-place overall.

Besides Thomas, sophomore Reece Thomas turned in a 93 (49-44) for GAHS, while freshman Cooper Davis (49-49) and sophomore Hobie Graham (50-48) rounded out the Blue Devils’ counting scores with a pair of 98s.

Wyatt Sipple, with a 54 and a 48 for a 102, was Gallia Academy’s other card.

There were 15 teams in Tuesday’s sectional, as only River Valley and Portsmouth — with only one and three golfers respectively — failed to record an official team score.

River Valley junior Aaron Burke, with a pair of 48s, shot a 96.

Piketon at 333 and Waverly at 334 were the top two teams, while Fairland at 343 and Rock Hill at 362 were the other two qualifying fivesomes besides Wheelersburg (372).

Talon Osborne of Waverly and Logan Reed of Rock Hill shared the match medalist honors with a smooth 1-over par 73.

The Division II district tournament will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Crown Hill Golf Club in Pickaway County.

By Paul Boggs

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106