The Halifax County High School golf team got its season off to a good start, finishing in a tie for fifth place in Monday’s John Scott Heritage Invitational Golf Tournament at London Downs Golf Club in Forest, one of the region’s top high school golf tournaments.

Halifax County High School posted a team total of 322, tying Western Albemarle High School for fifth place in the 23-team tournament. The Comets posted the best result among the four Piedmont District teams competing in the event. However, the Comets finished third among the Region 4D teams that competed in the tournament.

Region 4D member Blacksburg High School won the tournament for the third year in a row with a team total of 301, and fellow Region 4D member Jefferson Forest High School was the tournament runner-up with a team total of 307.

“All in all, I think they did a great job,” said first-year Comets head coach David Day.

“I was proud of them. We had a good day, yet we saw some room for improvement. We made a few mistakes we feel we can correct. The problems we have are correctable problems. We’re only going to get better as time goes by.”

Finishing in a tie for fifth-place was a move up for the Comets in the tournament.

“We finished eighth last year, and we made a move up,” Day pointed out.

“We feel like we’re going in the right direction. We’ve got some good players coming up.

Willoughby Gasperini led the Halifax County High School effort with a round of 74. Will Abdi followed with a round of 77, Harrison Culpepper carded a round of 83, and Jaxon Lloyd came in with a round of 88 to complete the four scores that counted toward the Comets’ team total. Ryan Corona also competed for the Comets. His round of 91 did not count toward the team total as the four best scores from among five players were counted.

“Willoughby and Will are the foundation the team is sort of built on,” Day said.

“Those two have got to carry the load for us. They both hit some great shots. What they did that helped more than anything was when they got into trouble they got out with a minimum amount of damage. They didn’t make double and triple bogeys that hurt them.”

For Culpepper and Lloyd, Monday’s tournament was their first varsity start.

“It was the first varsity match, and they did pretty well for their first time out,” Day noted.

The Comets’ performance in the tournament was a good one, especially when you consider the team had only held two official practices prior to the tournament.

“We practiced Thursday and Friday of last week, and Monday was our first match,” Day said.

“We’ve had open out-of-season practice, and a lot of these kids have been playing on a fairly regular basis for the last month. We’re further along than we have been in the past, and I think we’re only going to get better.”

Day said the focus now is on trying to find a couple of players in the Comets’ ranks that can bring in two better scores to help the team get closer and be more competitive with Region 4D teams Blacksburg and Jefferson Forest.

“Blacksburg is the one we’re worried about because they are the team that stands between us getting back to the state tournament,” Day pointed out.

“We’ve got to make up 20 shots to catch up with Blacksburg, and I think that’s doable. We were just a tiny bit off. We’ve got some other players on the team that can contribute. We’re hoping between these three, four or five players we’ve got we can get somebody who can put down some good scores that will help us get back to the state tournament.”

Results of the John Scott-Heritage Invitational

London Downs Golf Club – Forest, Virginia

Par 72

Medalist: Nick Rakes 70, Rustburg High School

Blacksburg - 301 – Davis Young 71, David Zhang 74, Melissa Meng 75, Paul Duncan 81, Eli Haile 82.

Jefferson Forest -307 – Garnet Manley III 71, Caleb DeBass 77, Jonathan Peterson 79, John Toney 80, Conner Kail 91.

George Wythe - 310 – Channing Blevins 74, Peyton Coe 77, Daniel Goode 78, Benson Blevins 81, Grant Rosenbaum 83.

Lord Botetourt -310 – Samir Davidov 74, Kaitlyn Mosdell 76, Ashton Harper 79, Kyle Lograsso 81, Jacob Vance 96.

Halifax County -322 – Willoughby Gasperini 74, Will Abdi 77, Harrison Culpepper 83, Jaxon Lloyd 88, Ryan Corona 91.

Western Albemarle -322– Luke Vance 78, Ben Winslow 80, Brian O’Dea 82, Aidan Halleran 82, John Bond 84.

Rockbridge -324– Cole Cathcart 75, Garrett Huffmen 78. Will McClung 84, John Shomo 86, Aaron Plogger 87.

Hidden Valley – 330 – Harrison Withers 79, Calvin Anthony 75, Michael Kupec 90, Tanner Whitely 93, Luke Barrette 86.

Magna Vista -333 – Cameron Robertson 79, Patrick McCricker 82, Wil Gardner 84, Dylan McCricker 88, Zachary Wilson 96.

E.C. Glass -334 – Jackson Laughon 79, Penn Willman 80, John Waterworth 86, Chase Conner 89, Sam Hamilton 102.

Rustburg – 348 – Nick Rakes 70, Cade Bigham 76, Nick Cross 87, Wyatt Bigham 115, Noah Gardner 116.

Cave Spring - 347 – Thomas Peterson 78, Alex Glick 86, Ethan Wild 88, Walker Wright 95, Blaise Wood 118.

Amherst - 351 -- Logan Beach 74, Brice Reichard 85, Carson Peters 89, Anthony Souza 103, Cameron Cash 111.

Mills Godwin - 352 – Art Lehman 79, Carson O’Connor 84, Morgan Mussatt 91, Will Houtz 98, Ryan Shook 115.

Tunstall - 361 – Dylan Martin 80, Karington Brooks 88, Noah White 90, Madi-Belle Barker 103, Taylor Dodson 110.

Appomattox - 363 -- Gage Franklin 85, Troy Graham 90, Joshua Baldwin 93, Matthew Napier 95, Jadon Tweedy 102.

Patrick Henry (Roanoke) – 367 – Tommy Fitchett 86, Ryan Straub 91, Evan Gross 93, Ben Collier 97, David Hudson 99.

James River – 396 – Ryan Stegar 85, Silas Miller 91, Joey Schroeder 105, Lacey Kessler 115.

Liberty - 432 – Peyton Watts 91, Cameron Leidich 96, Parker Holdren 116, Nathan Karnes 129, Ethan Long 134.

Staunton River - 455 – Owen Simmons 87, Conner Witt 110, Jon Ball 126, Stephen Rhud 132.

Heritage – 464 – Tim Hannan 111, Alex Lamar 112, Matthew Cassidy 117, Nate Cash 124, My Pitam132.

Brookville – No Score – Jared Skinner 83, David Wesolowski 90, Codi Fisher 124.

Bassett – No Score – Camden Lallam 99, Sydney Witcher 107, Chris Bryant 118.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at