The new league features the seven holdovers from last year plus former Class A/AA members Sullivan South, Elizabethton, Sullivan East and Unicoi County, now part of the District 1 Large School classification.
View the photo gallery from the tournament
Behind individual medalist Jackson Skeen, the Hilltoppers won for a third straight year, compiling a 297 team score and finishing six shots clear of Tennessee High.
Skeen, who was the runner-up as a freshman last year, needed three playoff holes to beat Tennessee High’s Jet Tickle. Skeen rolled in a 4-footer on the third extra hole.
Starting three freshmen in a six-golfer lineup, Dobyns-Bennett rolled to a third-place finish with a score of 315.
“Very pleased with a third-place finish,” said Tribe boys coach Mike Holt. “For the three freshmen, it’s just their second experience on 18 holes. We didn’t handle the first one well at the first of the season, but boy, did we show some resiliency today compared to then.”
None more so than No. 5 player Taylor Kilgore, who came in with a 77, just behind Zac Fletcher’s team-best 76.
“Really pleased with my No. 5, Taylor,” Holt added. “He really showed up today.
“Zac came in and set the tone. We got ourselves in some tough spots but were resilient and dug out of them.”
Holt said the Indians will take a new approeach to next Monday’s District 1 Large School tournament at Tri-Cities Golf Club.
“All kinds of confidence,” he said. "The future is bright, but we aren’t necessarily interested in the future being next year. We’d much prefer it being now.”
The Lady Indians held a six-shot lead in the clubhouse until Ivy Foran, playing No. 4 for Tennessee High, finished her round. The senior blistered the back nine with a 34 before coming in at 40 on the front for a 74 that left the Lady Vikings at 158, two shots better than D-B.
“We have three strong girls, so any day it could be any of them putting our score up there,” said Lady Indians coach Bill Darnell.
Foran was the only non-freshman among the top-five individuals.
D-B freshman Isabella van der Biest fought through a shaky start for a 1-over 72 that secured medalist honors over Foran.
“I was up and down the whole day,” van der Biest said. “I had a few bad holes that messed me up and I was mad, but I came back pretty well. It means a lot to win my first time here.”
Sullivan South freshman Kara Carter was up by one through 15 holes but finished double-par-triple to wind up third at 78. Tennessee High freshman twins Noelia and Isabella Adkins produced identical cards of 82 to tie for fourth.
The Lady Rebels were the only team among the group of newcomers to finish in the top three. Using Carter’s 78 and Karly Goff’s 87, South finished in third at 165.
“That’s pretty good,” said South coach Anthony Richardson. “We had a freshman step up in there and she didn’t play her best today. A lot of girls in our conference, whatever it’s called now, are just freshmen, so it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be exciting to see what happens the next few years.”