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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Signal Mountain's Benjamin Burns watches one of his drives. The Eagles are a strong contender to win today's City Prep golf tournament at Bear Trace.

Attempting to win the City Prep tournament for the first time, the impressive Signal Mountain boys' golf team tees off at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay Wednesday morning at 9.

As the two senior starters on the team, left-hander Foster Wood and Ben Seay look to help keep the Eagles soaring and claim the title of the city's best. They've already laid claim to the best in the state with two impressive tournament triumphs.

"It has been a grind to get to this point," Wood said after taking practice shots at the Moccasin Bend course Tuesday. "We have all worked hard and are peaking and are all close to the same level. It's nice to see how well we can do as a group."

After watching the Signal Mountain girls win six team state championships in the first 10 years of program history, the boys have become a powerful and an extremely consistent group.

From Peyton Ogle, Beck Lewis, Wood and Seay all shooting under par in a nine-hole home victory over Chattanooga Christian to a 5-under team finish in winning an 18-hole tournament at WillowBrook in Manchester, the Eagles have reached new heights after claiming their first team state title in 2018.

They also won a tournament at Crossville with TSSAA state champions and runners-up.

"This is a very focused group who comes out every day prepared to play," coach Rodney Mitchell said. "They all push each other because they are so competitive. It's tough to be that competitive but also as supportive as they are. They are great friends and play smart golf."

"We love to compete and play with the mindset we are the best in town, but we have to prove ourselves at Bear Trace and for the rest of the season," junior Benjamin Burns said. "We are very prepared. We take the approach to take one shot at a time, play for the team and play smart."

Signal Mountain and Baylor each has five golfers in the top 15 seeds and are expected to battle for the top prize.

Teeing off in the top flight will be Baylor's Sheldon McKnight, Chattanooga Christian's Jonathan Xoinis and the Eagles' Wood. Xoinis, who ranks third in the state's junior golf ranks, was the city medalist with a 4-under 68 last season.

Sale Creek's Ashley Holland is back to defend her crown from last season as the girls tee off at noon.

Cleveland's Hannah Nall and Ellie Mills are among the top qualifiers along with Soddy-Daisy's Madeline McNeal, Baylor's Kyndall Shamblin and Bradley Central's Lauren Baker.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com.

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