Residents of Marshall County may have had limited access to sports since March, but it was not enough to prohibit local students from pursuing their passions amid guidelines and restrictions.
With their high school sports put on the back burner, some athletes took their pursuit on the road while others were able to plug in around the Western Kentucky area.
Golf is a typical topic during the summer, but nothing is typical about the mark that local students have been making across the country. With restrictions for golf set by individual states, tournaments continued as Marshall County’s own golfers competed against top players from across the country returning with multiple top finishes.
Social distancing did not prove to be a problem for individual competitors such as golfers. Therefore, guidelines were centered around carts and spectators.
Marshall County High School senior Jay Nimmo competed on courses from Indiana to Alabama with stops at the 2020 Dye Junior Golf Championship at Crooked Stick in Indiana, Golfweek Junior Tour at Elk Run Golf Club in Ohio, American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Invitational at Sedgefield County Club, Greensboro, North Carolina, Sneds Tour at Windyke Country Club in Memphis, and then on to the Future Masters in Dothan, Alabama.
His most recent stop was in Paducah at the Irvin Cobb Championships where he ended with a tie for fifth in the Amateur and Junior finals.
Seventh-grader Trinity Beth, daughter of the new Lady Marshals’ head coach Aaron Beth and granddaughter of retired Lady Marshal’s head coach Howard Beth, has been busy creating her own legacy. After landing a first place finish at the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) College Prep Tournament in Nashville, Feb. 29 — March 1, it was three full months before Beth was able to return to golf.
Without a miss in her swing, she took another first place finish in the HJGT Ambassador Series at Weissinger Hills in Shelbyville.
Beth’s summer included a first place finish in the Notah Begay III Chicago Regional Qualifer for the three-day championship event set for November in Louisiana and stops at the Golfweek Junior Tour Championship in Ohio, the Kentucky Girls Junior PGA Championship at the University Club at Arlington in Richmond, the Kentucky Girls Junior Amateur at Cherry Blossom in Georgetown with a final stop for a fourth place finish (girl 12-15) at the Taylormade TP5 Junior All-Star in Georgia.
Zion Harmon kept high school sports analysts busy as he continued to climb the charts at the national level. ESPN released their 2021 Senior ESPN 100 with the MCHS senior and Western Kentucky University commit taking the 19th spot.
Marshall County ladies have been burning rubber in the sport of drag racing. Gabby Davis and Maizie Martin have been spending the hot summer strapped into cars that exceed speeds of 140 mph to challenge whoever draws the spot next to them on the line taking the win (or loss) without ever seeing the face behind the other helmet.
Davis said that during this summer, she has learned “to not take anything for granted in a country that gives us the freedom to do what we love most.” She went on to say, “Being at the track makes life seem normal. It’s easier to forget what crazy times we are living in.”
Without having to travel too far (Beacon Dragway, Paducah), she has been able to test and race locally while earning experience and credibility her first year as an NHRA licensed driver. But she has not limited herself to Beacon, also competing in Bowling Green.
At 16, Martin has spent this summer in the junior series. A second place finish in Darlington, South Carolina in May was a great way to start her season. From there, she was a number one qualifier at Crossroads Dragway in Terra Haute, Indiana.
July started off with a run for Martin in the Garrett Shankle Memorial Race at Jeppers Motorsports Park in Sikeston, Missouri, a race in memory of a dear friend that passed away two years ago.
With two weeks between, Martin then headed to the NHRA Summer Nationals in Indianapolis taking her Top Fuel and Funny Car and meeting racing favorites Steve Torrence and Bob Bode. Indianapolis might have been the highlight of her summer, but Martin said she was “glad to get some good seat time in her car to practice for many upcoming races through the fall.”
As of July 13, local racer Tanner English was in 10th place in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series National Championship.
Others have enjoyed the benefits of the lake region, from turkey hunting early in the COVID19 shutdown to competing in weekend fishing tournaments. Trails remained open for the hikers and bikers, as well as docks and shorelines for the social distancing fishermen.