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Timbs takes many top honors in golf including team MVP

Topping off a spectacularly successful season, the JCHS golf team celebrated their annual awards banquet last Thursday at the First Christian Church in Mountain City. Head Coach Steve Arnold formally kicked off the evening with a brief introduction before opening up an excellent meal of lasagna, salad, rolls, and numerous deserts prepared by Melody Grayson and Jeannie Arnold.
After the dinner lines had cleared and everyone settled in, Coach Arnold began the much anticipated awards ceremony. Considering the team’s wins over conference rivals such as Sullivan East and Elizabethton, and their amazing showing at districts where they took away the number two spot just behind Sullivan South, it was no surprise that everyone on the team earned some level of recognition.
“This was a great group to be around,” Arnold said. “Our players stepped up big time. The older players helped the new ones all year long, and comparing this to other teams in the past, this is the most stress free season I’ve ever been involved with.”
Arnold was particularly proud of this year’s post-season run, which included the first advancement to regionals as a team since 2007. Yet, even though only those players with the top averages actually went on to play in that match, Arnold was keen to point out that is was truly a whole team effort.
“I feel that though we didn’t have everybody with us, the whole team represented Johnson County golf. Everyone was a runner up in district and because of that I want to recognize all of them,” Arnold said.
Plaques and medals were given out to each member of the team for playing their part in the Longhorns’ success. Nate Plyler, Dylan Nichols, Isaiah Penley, Brandon Vannoy, Nathaniel Graybeal, Blade Hampton, Morgan Eggers, and Nathan Timbs were all on hand and all received their due honors.
Coach Arnold was also glad to point out that the majority of the team would be returning next year, with the notable exceptions of Blade Hampton and Nathaniel Graybeal, who both received Senior Awards and special recognition for their time and efforts in Johnson County’s golf program.
Ironically Hampton and Graybeal were in competition even at the banquet, when Coach Arnold presented the all district awards. Based solely on the players overall scores, the two seniors vied for the second spot right behind top scorer Nathan Timbs. At 44.4 and 44.5 overall the averages were very close, but Graybeal squeaked by to take home the plaque.
As he was in all district, Nathan Timbs ended up taking many of the top awards for the night. Kicking off his season with a rare hole in one, Timbs remained consistent in his play throughout the year and consequently earned the best overall average at 41 strokes. Later in the ceremony, where Arnold revealed those awards voted on by the players themselves, Timbs also earned the spot as the team MVP, and proved his skills in the classroom as well when he secured one of the academic awards for a 4.0 GPA.
Timbs was joined in that category by teammates Nate Plyler and Sawyer Main who both also had 4.0s. According to Arnold, the academic awards are actually one of his favorite to present because it shows the players who hard work both on the course and in the classroom. “Your grade card is going to take you a lot farther than your score card,” Arnold said.
There were also recognitions given out for rookie of the year, which went to rising star freshman player Isaiah Penley, and most improved, which actually came in as a tie between Brandon Vannoy and Morgan Eggers. The last student voted award was for sportsmanship, which went to Nate Plyler who went on to gain another recognition when he took home the Coaches Award for his dedication and persistence in improving his game even when he didn’t have to.
Arnold also recognized many of those who worked outside of the team to make the season a success, particularly Scott Plyler who drove the team to regionals, and Duane Peterson who drove the bus to most of the away matches throughout the season.
Overall the banquet was a very positive and fitting way to send off a season that could prove to be the most successful for Johnson County athletics this year. A rare group that worked well together and helped each other excel, this team may go down as one of the most memorable for Johnson County golf. With most of the players already looking ahead to next season, it also might just be the beginning of an even better year to come.