Here in the South each year, whether you are a football fan or not, you seemingly can’t get away from coverage of a top high school football player choosing between different college hats on a table in front of him as he announces which college he will attend in the fall. Football is king in the South, and, while we love it, oftentimes lost in the commotion of football coverage are the stories of other local athletes who are also at the top of their game and moving to the top of the heap in their respective sports.
Here at Sports & Entertainment Nashville, we want to highlight a few of the local athletes who have enjoyed success and deserve their time in the spotlight as well.
Dawson Armstrong – Golf
Senior at Lipscomb Academy
College: Verbally committed to Lipscomb University
Dawson Armstrong, who has verbally committed to play collegiate golf at Lipscomb University in 2014, is coming off an outstanding senior year at Lipscomb Academy that saw him capture the district and region crowns, followed by a runner-up performance at the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) state tournament in October. This follows an incredible summer on the junior golf circuit where he climbed to No. 23 in the country, according the prestigious Polo Golf Rankings that rank junior golfers from across the nation. Over the summer, Armstrong carded four top-eight finishes in national tournaments.
Armstrong beat a national and international field to win the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Bridgestone Golf/Brandt Snedeker Music City Junior, played at nearby Richland Country Club. He also notched a second place finish at the AJGA’s Under Armour/Jeff Overton Championship in Columbus, Ind. and earned a spot in the prestigious AJGA Junior PLAYERS Championship, played on the famous Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. To cap the summer play, Armstrong won the Tennessee Junior PGA Championship, which qualified him for the national tournament. In the national Junior PGA Championship, which was played at the Trump National Golf Club in Washington, D.C. and broadcast on the Golf Channel, Armstrong recorded a fifth place effort.
Alexandra Farnsworth – Golf
Senior at Ensworth School
College: Verbally committed to Vanderbilt University
Alexandra Farnsworth, a senior at Ensworth School who has verbally committed to play her college golf at Vanderbilt University, opened the 2013 summer junior golf season the same way she has the previous two years. Farnsworth, who is also the reigning Tennessee Golf Association Girls’ Junior Amateur of the Year, won The Tennessean/Metro Parks Schooldays Tournament for a third consecutive year. The win made her only the second female ever to win three straight and put her on the elite list of three-time winners that includes golf greats like U.S. Open champion Lou Graham.
Farnsworth wasn’t done collecting trophies for the summer, either. After a pair of top-five finishes against national and international fields at the Bubba Conlee National Junior and the AJGA’s Bridgestone/Brandt Snedeker Music City Junior, Farnsworth picked up another win at the AJGA’s Under Armour/Scott Stallings Championship in Memphis, Tenn. That helped earn Farnsworth a spot in the prestigious IZOD AJGA Championship, held in Browns Summit, N.C., where she finished tied for fourth. The effort also helped vault Farnsworth to the No. 40 ranked junior in the country, according to the Polo Junior Golf Rankings.
Farnsworth additionally competed in the USGA’s U.S. Girls Junior Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. She finished in a tie for 17th among a field comprised of the top junior players in the country. During the 2013 fall high school golf season, Farnsworth, who won the state championship as a sophomore in 2011, again captured the regional crown for Ensworth, before finishing runner-up for a second consecutive year in the state tournament.
Katie Fitt – Tennis
Senior at Ravenwood High School
Katie Fitt, a senior at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tenn., is one of the top female tennis prospects in the state. According to the Tennis Recruiting Network, which is the premier site for junior tennis in the nation, Fitt is listed as the No. 3 recruit in the state and No. 146 in the nation, earning her a four star rating out of five. As part of the powerhouse Ravenwood girls’ tennis team, which is currently the reigning back-to-back state champions, Fitt finished as runner-up in the doubles competition at the 2013 TSSAA State Tournament.
Fitt has also found success on the competitive junior circuit in singles competition. She notched a win at the Alabama Junior Spring State Championship Open in May 2013, while also reaching at least the semifinals round in five other tournaments with national competition. Fitt and her Ravenwood team also competed in the prestigious DecoTurf High School Tennis Team Championships, which pit top teams from the Southeast against each other. In the tournament, Fitt shined by earning all-tournament accolades in both the singles and doubles competition.
Kalyan Chadalavada – Tennis
Senior at Montgomery Bell Academy
Kalyan Chadalavada, a senior at Montgomery Bell Academy from Goodlettsville, Tenn., is ranked as the No. 2 boys’ tennis prospect in Tennessee, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network. The three star-rated Chadalavada is currently ranked No. 272 overall in the nation and has been ranked as highly at No. 175. He sports an impressive 33-18 record against other rated prospects in the country, with seven of those wins coming over opponents ranked above him in the rankings.
For Montgomery Bell Academy, Chadalavada will be entering his 2014 senior season looking for a bit of redemption after he and his teammates finished runner-up in the TSSAA State Tournament in 2013. They will be looking for a return to their 2012 form where they won the state championship. In the 2013 TSSAA State Tournament doubles competition, Chadalavada and his partner Andrew Karpos reached the semifinals, and they will be working to take the next step and hoist the state championship trophy when the TSSAA’s State Championship Spring Fling comes again in April 2014.