Meridian Star

February 9, 2014

EMCC set to tee off MACJC’s spring golf slate today

BBy David Rosinski / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     SCOOBA – Looking to continue the program’s recent success on the links under veteran head coach Dale Peay, the East Mississippi Community College men’s golf team is set to tee off the spring campaign today in the year’s first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges event. The two-day tournament will begin today at the Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport.

    With final-round play set for Monday, the spring’s initial MACJC golf event will be hosted by six-time reigning NJCAA Region 23 Champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Established in 1908 and recognized as the oldest golf club in Mississippi, the 6,238-yard, par-71 Great Southern Golf Club overlooks the Gulf of Mexico.

    Entering his ninth year as EMCC’s golf coach and 29th season overall coaching at the school, Peay begins the 2014 spring campaign with six newcomers among his eight-man squad.  Minus a trio of MACJC All-State golfers (NJCAA All-American Miles Respess, Nick Davis and Caleb Westmoreland) who helped lead the Lions to their third consecutive runner-up team finish during last year’s MACJC State Golf Championship,

    Peay figures to rely on his talented recruiting class in order to continue the current streak.

    Joining returnees John Pittman (Olive Branch) and Chase Smith (Northeast Jones HS), East Mississippi’s five-man recruiting class features a pair of individual state champions from the Mississippi ranks as well as a first-team all-state golfer from Arkansas. All five EMCC signees finished among the top six in their respective state championship competitions.

    Among the Lions’ homegrown talent is 2013 Class 5A state medalist Steven Eilders of Ridgeland High School, who claimed state honors as a senior after finishing third during each of his previous two years.

    Also earning an individual state championship a year ago was Calhoun Academy’s Hunter Harmon. Last year’s Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class A state medalist earned EMCC’s prestigious Henry W. “Buddy” Faulkner Excellence in Golf award for compiling the team’s best stroke average during the Lions’ World Class Fall Golf Tour of noted Memphis-area golf courses.

    The Lions have also added in-state standouts Trent Humber and W.D. Newlin from Caledonia and Bruce, respectively. Humber helped lead the CHS Confederates to the district team finals as a senior and then went on to place fourth individually at the MHSAA Class 4A state championship. Newlin helped pace the BHS Trojans to a Class 2A state runner-up team finish this past year while finishing sixth individually.

    EMCC’s highly touted out-of-state addition is Chase Chitwood from Jessieville (Ark.) High School. Having twice earned Class 3A first-team all-state accolades, Chitwood carded a fifth-place showing at the 2012 Arkansas Activities Association overall state championship.

    Rounding out this year’s EMCC contingent is former New Hope High School product Shane Bazzell.

    With five MACJC golf events scheduled for the spring, East Mississippi Community College is set to be the proud host of the spring’s final regular-season tournament, April 14-15, at Lion Hills in Columbus. The rest of the spring slate will feature tournaments at Eagle Ridge in Raymond (Feb. 22-23), Northwood in Meridian (March 3-4), and jointly between North Creek in Southaven and Wedgewood in Olive Branch (March 31-April 1).

    The 2014 MACJC State Golf Championship is slated for April 27-28 at the Oaks in Pass Christian, while this year’s NJCAA Region 23 Golf Championship will take place the following week (May 3-4) at Wolf Hollow in Wesson.