Getting to see one of his players reach the prestigious Class AAA State Tournament in Wheeling for the first time, Ripley head golf coach Joel Miller is looking forward to his fourth season leading the blue and white on the links.

His excitement level is due in part to the return of two outstanding seniors.

One being Andrew Manley, who became Miller’s first State Tournament qualifier last year.

The other senior is Davis Haynes, who has shown signs throughout his days at Ripley High as being one of the state’s better golfers.

The Ripley roster is down in numbers this season from 12 to eight.

But Miller knows there is plenty of talent.

“I’ve seen a lot of improvement (from all eight),” said Miller, a 2009 Ravenswood High School graduate.

Of Manley, the Viking head coach said, “We’ve been hitting a lot of the range and his swing is strong. He is knocking the tar out of the ball. He’s improved his accuracy a lot. He’s dialed in his driver and his short game is as good as ever.”

Speaking of Haynes, the Viking head coach stated, “He’s just an all-around golfer. He has distance, accuracy and is a hard worker. He’s been playing in all of the (West Virginia Golf Association) events all around the state this summer.”

The junior class for Ripley consists of Jarrett Lough and Colby Farrell. Will Haynes is the lone sophomore.

He’s excited about three girls who are a part of the roster in juniors Ashlyn Donohew and Kayley Blackburn along sophomore Avery Fife.

“They have really increased their power and accuracy,” said Miller. “I’m looking forward to them competing in the State Girls Invitational this year.”

After an individual qualified for the State Tournament last year, Miller feels the time is right for the entire team to be at Ogelbay Park by the season’s end.

Ripley was to begin its 2020 campaign today (Friday) by competing at Elizabeth’s Bel Meadow Golf Course in the Bel Meadow Callaway Invitational.