West Jessamine was the most successful boys' golf team in the state in the regular season, winning six invitationals in a row during one sizzling stretch.
The Colts maintained that momentum in the 4th Region tournament at Danville Country Club last week. Their top four golfers shot 75 or better for a 289 total, the lowest region score in the state.
"By far our best performance of the year, considering what was at stake and the expectations everybody had," Coach Adam Young said.
Now comes the hard part: the Leachman/KHSAA State Tournament at Bowling Green Country Club on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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West Jessamine is one of the favorites, along with perennial power St. Xavier, Paducah St. Mary and defending champion Lexington Christian Academy. Madison Central, which edged LCA for the 9th Region title, can't be overlooked, either.
West Jessamine, which finished third in the state last year, is young but experienced, with junior Travis Rose, sophomore Fred Allen Meyer and freshman Conner Haas.
"This will be their combined 13th state tournament," Young said. "You can't put a price on that experience."
Sophomores Byron Speech and Wes Skipworth fill out the Colts' lineup.
Young said the key this week will be keeping his players from getting "too amped up. Trying too hard isn't always a bad thing but, in golf, it can lead to mistakes."
LCA returns three players — Hager Collins, Chandler Fischer and Ethan Sprang — who were part of last year's title team. All three finished in the top 25 at Bowling Green.
Scott Barnhart and Will Handshoe give LCA an all-senior lineup this season.
"We've all been together seven years, so this is a big deal to us," Collins said. "We want to win and go out on a high note."
LCA Coach Eric Geldhof said that while he views 18-time state champ St. X, West Jessamine and St. Mary as the top contenders, "I'd like to say we're there in the pecking order, too."
Madison Central showed it can post a low number by firing a 298 in the region, led by Kyle Congleton and Dylan Kelley's 72s at Gibson Bay. The Indians' lineup also has Devin Gabbard, Carter Skipworth and John Cornelison.
Preston French of Henry Clay, Chandler Morgan of Tates Creek and Matthew Mahle of Lexington Catholic shot 72s to qualify individually.
Tyler McDaniel of Clay County bears watching. He tied for third in the state last year as an eighth-grader.