Roane State Men’s Golf is celebrating an impressive performance so far this season, with the team claiming a spot in the NJCAA Division II top five. Roane State is now the only Division II community college from Tennessee currently ranked in the top 20.

The Raiders are coming off the most successful fall season in program history. Head Coach Chris Griffin attributes their accomplishments to the focus of the young athletes he recruited, noting that each member of the team was already an experienced golfer.

“Their skill levels and knowledge of the game were strong before they even joined the program,” Coach Griffin explained. “The boys from England have substantial tournament experience over there. The American players also come with a lot of talent, and I think that is what’s making a big difference – the fact that they have real tournament experience.”

The international players are sophomores Kieran McCarthy and Louie Stott, both from England. McCarthy is currently ranked #15 nationally and Stott is ranked #23.

McCarthy won his first collegiate tournament in February at the Columbia International University (CIU) Invitational. He also led the field at the Lioneer Invitational, the spring season opener, with round scores of 73 and 76. Team scores of 309 on both days placed the Raiders in sixth place among 18 teams.

“A team-first mentality is critical to our success,” Griffin said. “When they are committed to supporting each other and striving for collective success, the chemistry is perfect.”

Sophomore Caleb Tipton, team captain of the Raiders, agreed that the approach is working. Tipton was named an NJCAA 2nd Team All-American following last spring’s DII championship and is currently ranked #30 nationally.

“It’s about pushing my teammates, and then them pushing me,” Tipton said. “I personally do not care much about my individual performance – what matters is that the team succeeds.”

“The combination of prior experience, competitiveness, and rigorous training is turning the program into a powerhouse in the golfing world,” Roane State Athletics Director David Lane said. “We are so proud of Coach Griffin and these golfers who are setting incredible goals and working hard to achieve them.”

“If we continue nurturing our relationships with each other and growing as a team, I believe we have a really good chance at winning the national championship,” Griffin added.

Roane State will travel to Shorter College in Georgia March 17-19 to play in the Shorter Hawk Invitational Battle. After that, the Raiders head to Calhoun Community College in Alabama for the Spring Classic to be held March 25-26.

The team will return to Tennessee to play in the Cleveland State Invitational on April 8-9 before the Southeastern District Tournament in Bristol starting April 22.