[caption id="attachment_4957" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2014\/08\/140813PCHSGolfTeamsm.jpg"><img class="wp-image-4957 size-medium" src="http:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2014\/08\/140813PCHSGolfTeamsm-300x199.jpg" alt="140813PCHSGolfTeamsm" width="300" height="199" \/><\/a> Members of the Pocahontas County High School Golf Team before their August 13 match against Tygarts Valley, l-r: Stephen Mick, Brandon Wilfong, Brandon Halterman, Matt Rao, Chase Alkire and Austin Sharp. The squad went on to defeat the Bulldogs by a score of 176-191.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nThe Pocahontas County High School Warrior golfers have good reason to be confident. They beat back seven other teams to win the regional championship last season and made the trip to Wheeling for the state tournament.\r\n\r\nThis year's squad includes senior Stephen Mick, juniors Matt Rao and Chase Alkire, and sophomores Brandon Wilfong, Austin Sharp and Brandon Halterman. All of the players are returners, except for Halterman. Rao and Mick are left-handed golfers.\r\n\r\nThe team is off to an early and excellent start. Before the start of the school year, the Warriors won a scrimmage at powerful Bath County and defeated Tygarts Valley in Buckeye on August 13.\r\n\r\nHead Coach Phillip Anderson said his top three golfers hit the links hard this summer.\r\n\r\n\u201cBrandon Wilfong, he's golfed about every day this summer,\u201d he said. \u201cHe's wanting to take his game to the next level. He's been very dedicated this summer. I talked to Stephen Mick and Matt Rao, they've also played a lot of golf this summer. So, I look for us to be very competitive in the upcoming season. I look for good things.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnderson said the individual nature of golf makes it more challenging, in some ways, than other sports.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt's probably the most mental game that there is to play in athletics,\u201d he said. \u201cI've played every other sport and, by far, golf is more mentally challenging. It's a team sport but it's also an individual sport. They shoot individual. It's not like they pass the ball to a teammate for an assist to score a basket. They have to make the drive, they have to make the iron shot, they have to make the putt themselves.\u201d\r\n\r\nBut Mick finds the sport relaxing.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt's an easy way to relax and get things off your mind,\u201d he said. \u201cBut it's competitive. I like to go to states. We've been to states two out of the three years that I've played.\u201d\r\n\r\nMick - a star basketball player at PCHS - gained five inches during the last four years and now stands tall at 6'4\u201d. The senior said the growth spurt is good for basketball - but bad for golf.\r\n\r\n\u201cI have to get new clubs about every other year,\u201d he said. \u201cIt gets kind of expensive.\u201d\r\n\r\nWilfong took up the sport just two years ago and is already one of the best golfers in the county.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt just takes a lot of practice and a lot of determination,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nCurrently the team's number-one golfer, Wilfong described the mental aspect of the sport.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt's just a never ending journey,\u201d he said. \u201cYou always can get better and you can always get worse. It's just a puzzle and you have to try to solve it. There's just thousands of things that can go wrong with your golf swing and your mind and everything.\u201d\r\n\r\nHigh morale is one of the most important elements in winning. Wilfong said the team has the will to win.\r\n\r\n\u201cI think we'll make it to states again this year,\u201d he said. \u201cThe team really wants and if they want it, they can do it.\u201d\r\n\r\nRao, now in his second season with the Warriors, started playing about five years ago.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt's definitely a mental game,\u201d he said. \u201cIf you let the game get to you, it will just mess you up even more.\u201d\r\n\r\nMick said one of the worst things that can happen is losing one's cool.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou just can't get mad,\u201d he said. \u201cIf you get mad, you can't play, you just start shanking the ball.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnderson is setting the bar high for this year's team.\r\n\r\n\u201cI'm excited about this season and the school year,\u201d he said. \u201cThe kids are focused and ready to play golf. We have an opportunity this year to do real well. It's not going to be a walk in the park; we're going to have to earn it. But I'll take that group of boys anywhere. They are young men and I'm real proud of them and their professionalism. I feel honored to be able to coach them.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Pocahontas County Country Club provides free practice play and match play for the Warriors. The Raven Golf Club at Snowshoe provides free match play and a free driving range for high school players.\r\n\r\nThe next Warrior golf match is at Greenbrier East on August 30 at 4 p.m. The next home match is at Raven Golf Club on September 10 at 10 a.m.