HC’s Casolari, Harlan’s Johnson qualify for sub state


Brayden Casolari

Harlan County freshman Brayden Casolari and Harlan junior Aiden Johnson advanced to state competition with strong showings Monday in Burnside at the Region 10 Tournament. Both will compete in sub state competition next week at the Winchester Country Club.

Aiden Johnson

Casolari was sixth with a 75, helping leading HCHS to a top 10 finish in the team competition.
“Brayden earned his spot in the state first round playoffs today,” Harlan County coach Greg Lewis said. “He started his round four over par through four and it would have been easy to throw in the towel and say it isn’t your day. But he battled back and never gave up and earned this spot. He’s going to a place where he’s had a lot of success on the junior tours, so it’s going to be fun to see him tee it up next week.”
Johnson placed 13th to earn a spot in state competition with a 79.
“Aiden played very well today. He started off with some tough shots but kept his head and ended up with his best front nine score of the year at 39,” Harlan coach Jeremy Lee said. “Aiden was excellent on the greens today and was able to save several stokes with excellent recovery shots. He’s playing his best golf right now, and I expect a strong showing at the state match next week in Winchester.”
Pulaski County won the team title with 296 points, seven strokes ahead of Rockcastle County and 20 ahead of Clay County. HCHS was seventh with 334 points.
“I know these guys are leaving here today upset that we didn’t play our best, but these young men have rewritten the record books for HC golf this year. They have accomplished things as a team that I don’t think will ever be matched,” Lewis said. “We won by an average of over 26 shots per match, we won the conference championship by 50 shots, and our invitational win by more than 30 shots. HC golfers won every conference match this season and all four players were player of the year or first team all conference. I hope they look back on this season with pride.”
Alex Creech was second for the Bears with an 83.
“Alex has been so impressive this year and today was no exception,” Lewis said. “He battled and had one bad hole where his drive clipped a tree ending up in a very tough spot leading to a big number. He missed the playoff for the state tournament by two shots. I know he loves baseball but if he decided to be a full time golfer he would be putting up some really consistent impressive numbers.”
Matt Lewis shot an 87 in his final high school match.
“Matt again drove the ball very well and as always his short game was great. He uncharacteristically didn’t strike the ball as he normally does with his irons, but this is going to be a bitter pill to swallow for me as a coach and his dad,” Lewis said. “I advised him on a couple club selections on a couple places where I was trying to be too aggressive and it wasn’t the right choice. He lost nine shots over those four holes. He played the other fourteen holes in six over. It’s hard to think that him following my advice cost him a chance to go to the state tournament. He was absolutely one of the top players there but, unfortunately, won’t move on.”
Eighth-grader Cole Cornett shot an 89 for the Bears.
“Cole didn’t have his best stuff today. He struggled off the tee a bit and left himself in some difficult places,” Lewis said. “He hit the ball very well with all of his other clubs and he battled hard. I know this wasn’t the score he hoped for but he battled and scored better than he could have. Cole has played great all season. I hate that he didn’t have his A game today.”


Team Scoring (Top two teams advance to Sub-State)
1. Pulaski County 296
Cayden Lancaster 69
Mason Daughtery 75
Reece Broughton 75
Zach Ousley 77
Kellan McKinney 85
2. Rockcastle County 303
Jake Cromer 72
Conner Ford 74
Dalton Deborde 77
Zeke Fain 80
Dalton Gibbs 82
3. Clay County 316
Harley Davidson 71
Reece Nolan 73
Brandon Crawford 81
Bryce Smith 91
Jaxon Hooker 92
4. Somerset 321
Brady Reynolds 76
Peyton Philipi 81
Bryson Stevens 82
Nate Luttrell 82
Kole Grundy 82
5. McCreary Central  326
Tanner Watters 79
Kaleb Harris 81
Tyler Summer 82
Tate Sandidge 84
Conner Stevens 90
6. North Laurel 330
Kole Jervis 80
Jaxon Jervis 82
Brady Hensley 84
Ben Baker 84
Todd Sizemore 87
7. Harlan County 334
Brayden Cosolari  75
Alex Creech 83
Matt Lewis 87
Coke Cornett 89
8. Jackson County 335
Josiah Tyra 76
Jackson Lakes 82
Tydus Summers 88
Jude Lakes 89
Micah Summers 90
9. Wayne County 349
Cade Foster 82
Caleb Perkins 82
Hunter Bell 84
Cooper Stockton 101
Ryland Morgan 104
10. Whitley County 353
Christopher Strickland 87
Caleb Strickland 88
Trey Lawson 89
Caden Conlen 89
Landon Siler 92
11. South Laurel 368
Joshua Steele 87
Parker Payne 90
Toby Dotson 94
Lucas Campbell 97
Jeremiah Smith 112
12. Knox Central 381
Grant Miller 86
Eli Blevins 94
Austin Bargo 96
Trevor Smith 105
Waylon Grazier 109
13. Barbourville 384
Sam Buchanan 87
Bryce Messer 90
Colton Poindexter 101
Jake Mayne 106
Brendan Chafin 125
14. Southwestern 398
Chandler Taylor 88
Kaleb Winks 96
Oliver Frey 106
Drew Kelly 108
Jaxon Wilson 115
15. Corbin 402
Ethan Mott 95
Braden Scalf 99
Brody Faulkner 100
Hayden Webb 108
Will Freeman 108
16. Bell County 428
Braydon Saylor 96
Gunnar Sams 102
Austin Goode  109
Jackson Walters 121
Cooper Miracle 123
Aiden Johnson, Harlan 79
Conner Winterberger, Middlesboro 86
Layne Bayless, Middlesboro 87
Garrison Warren, Middlesboro 90
Jacob Anderson, Somerset Christian 109
Ethan Reed, Williamsburg 116