Watauga High senior Savannah Wood has been a trendsetter since her preps days began. A three-time state qualifier, Wood owns the highest finish at the state
meet in school history by a boy or girl golfer (she finished fourth her sophomore year), and she is also the first female player to play collegiately at the Division I level.
Wood has announced she will continue her golf career at Appalachain State University next fall. She's been assured a scholarship by Mountaineers coach Heather Brown.
"It's real exciting," she said. "It was an amazing feeling. I always wanted to play at the Division I level, and to be able to do it close home, makes it real special."
Wood hasn't set a signing date, but the signing period for National Letters of Intent begins November 13. But ASU wasn't Wood's only choice. Wake Forest and North Carolina were among some of the other schools Wood was considering.
"Wake Forest had used up all of their scholarships, and I could have walked on at North Carolina," said Wood, who will major in biology at ASU. "There were some other smaller schools I could have considered, but ASU was the best choice. I love my family, and I love Boone. I'm not ready to leave this area just yet."
Wood led the Pioneers to the state meet last fall. It's only the second time in school history that the WHS girl's have qualfied for the state meet. WHS finished tenth, and Wood finished 12th individually.
"I had some problems with my swing at the state meet last fall," Wood said. "I wasn't real pleased with my performance. But it was a great experience for us (Mary Seramur and Tasha Wilson). I made it to the state meet my freshman and sophomore years, and it was just coach (Jamie) Wilson and me. But going as a team was a big accomplishment for us. It was only the three of us, but we really bonded as a team. And getting there as a team will really benefit us this season. It's given us a lot of confidence."
The Pioneers begin the season with a scrimmage at Avery next Tuesday, August 27; they open the season at the Boone Golf Club on September 10.
"It's hard to believe four years have gone by as fast as they have," Wood said. "And it's been a lot of fun playing at Watauga. This is a special year, especially for me. I really want to finish strong, and make my way back to the state meet. I finished fourth there my sophomore year, and I want to make up for last year. I really didn't like the way I played at the state meet last fall."
Wood also plays basketball at WHS. She's a four-year varsity player, and a three-year starter. Wood led the Pioneers in scoring with a 13-point average last season. She also led the team with 55 three pointers. The Pioneers made it to the Class 4A sectional semifinals before they were eliminated by the top seed, North Mecklenburg, in overtime.
"We lost, but we played a great game," Wood said. "I enjoy playing basketball, and that's what I was really hoping to play in college. But in July of last year (before her junior year), I decided golf was the game for me, if I wanted to play in college. I thought about playing college basketball, most likely division two. But I was playing in a (basketball) tournament in Nashville (TN), and I watched the girls, who were playing a level higher than us. And they were good. Right there, I decided that golf was the game for me in college."
But Wood has been stellar for WHS during her playing career. She earned all-conference honors last season, and she will be WHS' top returnee this season.
"I like playing basketball," Wood said,. "It's been a lot of fun, and it's been a great experience for me. But this will also be the last time I get to play it on an organized level. It's my senior year and I really want it to be special. I'm just glad I've made my college choice. Now, I can concentrate on golf and basketball."