Tanner Nelson accomplished one of his goals for his senior season, qualifying for the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association golf state championship.
Lenoir City High School's Nelson just missed the cut the last two years, eliminated each time in a playoff. This year, Nelson tied for second place with a score of 75 and was the top individual qualifier.
"I am so proud," Lenoir City golf coach Adrian Pearce said. "He's missed the last two years. He was in a playoff for the last spot and missed it. Then he finally kicked the door in and did it." The region tournament was played at Green Meadows Country Club in Alcoa and the course, especially the greens, was unkind to all golfers.
"The greens were really hard, like hard as rocks out there," Nelson said. "It played pretty much like a U.S. Open would out there today. Scores were high. One over won it and I shot three over, so I'm pretty happy."
Nelson shot at even par on the front nine, leading the field, but the back nine proved a more difficult task.
The senior shot three over on the back to finish in a second-place tie with Farragut's Mark Dalton.
Farragut's Connor McKay was the only golfer Monday to shoot under par on either the front or back nine. McKay shot one under for the back to finish with a score of 73 and win at one over par for the match.
The Admirals qualified as a team on both the boys and girls sides with overall scores of 300 and 165 respectively.
Because Farragut qualified as a team, Nelson was the top individual qualifier as the top finisher outside of that team.
Hardin Valley's Anthony Marcinelli and Halls' Trey Poteet and Cameron Yeary all shot a 76 to tie for fourth place with Farragut's Chid Thomas and Tyler Johnson and also qualify for the state tournament.
Nelson, who finished with the second group of golfers Monday, said waiting to find out the scores was the hardest part of the match.
"It's pretty nerve-racking, really," Nelson said. "I felt pretty confident I would (make the state cut), but you never know when people might come in with better scores."
With the state schedule to take place next week at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester, Nelson said he planed to go back to work quickly.
"I'll probably take tomorrow off," he said. "Then I'll probably crank it back up on Wednesday, trying to get ready for state."
Nelson played well over the summer on the Tennessee Golf Association Junior Golf Tour and has put together a successful campaign in the high school season, including a second-place finish at the PrepXtra Masters, which most closely resembles the structure of the state championship.
Winning state is Nelson's goal moving forward.
Lenoir City also had a golfer on the girls' side Monday, freshman Emmah Click. She finished with a score of 100, ending up in the middle of the pack.
"It was tough, but it was fun," Click said. "I got to play with some nice people."
The freshman became Lenoir City's No. 1 on the girls side throughout the season, and Pearce said making it to the region tourney was quite an accomplishment.
"She did awesome," he said. "She's got a lot of potential. The girls program's going to be in good hands with her and (sophomores) Victoria (Noles) and Lexi (O'Domirek) in the future."
Click already has a goal in mind for next season, setting her sights on making it one step further before she left the course Monday.
"Make it to state," she said. "I want to make it to state next year."