Cora Mount signs with Tennessee Wesleyan

Gordon Lee senior Cora Mount will be playing golf in college next season as the 2022 Class A Public School state runner-up signed on with Tennessee Wesleyan University on Thursday. On hand for the ceremony was Emma and Alivia Mount and Jennifer Griffin, along with TWU head coach Stan Harrison and Gordon Lee girls' golf head coach Kevin McElhaney.

For the past 20 years, Gordon Lee High School has had a solid tradition of top-rate female golfers, ones who have helped the Lady Trojans to region and state titles and who have gone on to make names for themselves at the next level.

The next golfer on that exclusive list made her college choice official on Thursday as senior Cora Mount signed with Tennessee Wesleyan University during a ceremony in Chickamauga.

"It's going to be a great experience for sure," said Mount, who first picked up a club six years ago. "I was hopeful that I was going to get to play in college, but I didn't think it was going to be decided until (near the end of May). Still, I'm excited.

"I met the girls on the team at a tournament (in mid-May). They just seem great. The school is not too far from home, so I can get home when I need to and the coach is awesome. It seems like a great golf experience."

Kevin McElhaney, who began his first season as the girls' head golf coach this spring, said that as impressive as Mount is with her game on the course, she is just as impressive off of it with her attitude, politeness and demeanor.

"Gordon Lee has been blessed with some really good female golfers at the school over the years," he began. "Being my first year (as coach), I've watched it from afar, but getting to watch Cora play has just been a true pleasure. She really is a joy to be around."

Mount really came into her own as a prep golfer in 2021 when she averaged 85 for 18 holes and was the runner-up for low medalist honors at the area tournament. She went on to finish seventh overall at the state tournament with rounds of 90 and 87, was honorable mention All-State in her classification, and was named the Walker County Girls' Golfer of the Year.

It turned out to merely be a warm-up.

This past season, Mount picked up All-Tournament honors at the Heritage and Cedartown Invitationals and won the individual title at the Area 3-A tournament in LaFayette with an 83, helping her team to a second-place finish.

Then at state, she held the 18-hole lead with an opening round of 79. She ended the tournament with an 82 in the final round - equaling her average for the year - and collected the state runner-up trophy, while Gordon Lee tied for fourth in the team standings. She was also recently named as a first team All-State selection.

"We're getting a very good one," said TWU head coach Stan Harrison. "We're extremely excited about Cora coming to Tennessee Wesleyan. To be able to get her this late, we think it's a steal. You've heard of the expression 'a diamond in the rough'? Well, I think we have a diamond already. I think she's going to be an outstanding player and I think she's ready to bloom right now. We're really excited about her coming to join us."

Mount said she's hoping to have a good experience at TWU and be able to bond with her new teammates, as well as be a big contributor on the course.

"I just have to get my game ready," she added. "The tees are farther back in (women's) college golf and I'm not used to playing those, so I'll have to get used to playing different yardages."

However, McElhaney said he believed Mount would make the transition to the college game quickly.

"Her approach (to the game) is really good," he continued. "Her mental game is as good as the rest of her game because she understands how to manage courses. What I saw her do was take shots that were solid shots. Even if they didn't come out the way she wanted them to, she was still able to manage and play through them. Good or bad, she kept putting herself in positions for good shots in order to score and that showed itself at the state tournament. That 79 she shot in the first round was one of the best rounds that she seen.

"She's been a great teammate and a great leader to the younger players. Hopefully, we'll be able to keep it up now that she's gone."

Mount said she planned to major in business management and added that she would also like to minor in logistics.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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