DARKE COUNTY – A pair of golfers who have excelled during in postseason play are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Arcanum boys golfer Carter Gray and Versailles girls golfer Jorja Pothast.
Gray shot an 18-hole round of 88 in Tuesday’s Ohio High School Athletic Association sectional tournament at Turtle Creek Golf Course. He finished sixth overall and was the lone Darke County golfer to advance from the sectional into next week’s district tournament.
“His sectional was a tale of two sides on the course,” Arcanum boys golf coach Todd Shannon said. “He started on hole 10, which is a very difficult hole, and got into trouble there and on 11 as well. He finished with a 47 on the back nine and then a 41 on the front.”
The Arcanum sophomore is able to excel on the course in large part because of his mental approach to the game.
“He is an extremely athletic kid who plays the game very loose,” Shannon said. “Golf is an extremely mental game, and a lot of talented golfers over think their shots. Carter plays very relaxed – sometimes too relaxed for a coach – but he always finds a way to get out of trouble and score well. There aren’t many kids playing the game like that.”
With his abilities, Shannon thinks Gray has a lot of potential to unleash as he progresses.
“I am excited to see him play in districts and beyond,” the Arcanum coach said. “Carter has the athletic ability and calm nature to go as far as he wishes in the game of golf.”
Along with being a great golfer, Gray also is a great person both on and off the course.
“The best part about coaching Carter is that he has more character than he does athletic ability … and he is tremendously athletic,” Shannon said. “I’m proud of him on and off the course.”
Pothast also got off to a strong start in the OHSAA tournament, finishing third overall in the sectional at Stillwater Valley Golf Club with a round of 83 to help lead the Lady Tigers to the team championship.
“For the past few years she’s peaked right at the right times,” Versailles girls golf coach Joe Harrmann said. “It almost seems like ever since she’s been in high school we always kind of joke she starts slow in the beginning of the year and then toward the end of the year, middle of the year, she peaks right at the right time.”
The strong play during the sectional was a continuation of the strong season Pothast has had, which included medalist honors at the Midwest Athletic Conference tournament with a round of 87.
“The second half of the year was just tremendous for her in MAC play and now the MAC tournament, MAC medalist at the tournament,” Harrmann said.
The Versailles senior has been so successful because of her dedication to the game.
“She works on her game a lot in the summer and cares,” Harrmann said. “She’s got a passion for it and wants to do well. She’s not going to do it halfhearted. She’s going to go full-force, and she’s got a lot of emotion that she puts into the game, and that always shows in her work ethic.”
Pothast helped guide the Lady Tigers to the OHSAA state tournament the last two seasons. The Tigers are feeding off their continued success this season as they look to return to Columbus.
“It feeds the energy of the team,” Harrmann said. “They see somebody who maybe the first half of the year wasn’t exactly what she wanted but she continued to battle through it. The team is feeding on the success of her as well as the overall success of Lauren (Durham) with being MAC player of the year and having another solid year for herself and then in addition to that the rest of the team.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.