Photo: Westbrook Christian senior William Wethington (pictured sitting at center) recently signed a golf scholarship with the University of North Georgia. Pictured sitting with Will are his mom Melissa and dad Matt. Pictured standing are sisters Elizabeth (left) and Caroline.
By Chris McCarthy/Publisher/Editor
Will Wethington’s future became a little bit brighter on March 21.
The Westbrook Christian senior signed a golf scholarship with the University of North Georgia, capping a recruiting process that began when he was a sophomore.
“The process was difficult at times, but I’m thankful and excited about the opportunity,” said Wethingotn. “Some schools started following me [on social media] the summer after my 10th grade year, so it’s been a long process.”
Wethingon fielded a number of scholarship offers, including from North Alabama, Jacksonville State and UAB.
Wethington began playing golf with his dad Matt at a very young age and fully committed to the sport at the age of 12.
“That’s when I started taking it really seriously and began to practice every day. I felt I had an opportunity to go somewhere with it, so I stuck with it.”
Wethington said that first-year UNG mens golf coach Bryson Worley was a major factor in the decision to sign with the Division II Nighthawks. In 21 years as high school golf coach, Worley was named the 2012 and 2013 GACA State Coach of the Year and was a 13-time GACA Region Coach of the Year and a 10-time Gainesville Times Area Coach of the Year. His teams won two state championships, 10 region championships, 67 tournament victories and 131 top five finishes. Worley has coached 51 all-state honorees, 97 all-area players and 26 collegiate players, including four that have played professionally.
“He’s already made a lot of changes that I think will really help the school. I can kind of see how he’s trying to shift the culture at the school and create a winning environment, and I’m very excited to be a part of something like. Besides being a great coach, he’s an honest and truthful man, and it will be an honor to play for him.”
Wethington also was impressed with the school’s campus located in Dahlonega in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He is undecided on an academic major but is leaning toward business or finance.
“The scenery is unbelievable, plus [the school] just built new dorms and a new arena with weight rooms and classrooms and training facilities.”
Over the past few years, Wethington and his teammates helped Westbrook become one of the top boys golf programs in the state. The Warriors won the Class 1A-2A state championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and were the 2018 state runners-up. Wethington was the 2018 individual runner-up with a three-under-par 142 score. He finished just two strokes behind low medalist Jacob LeCroy of Donoho.
“A lot of teams are fortunate to win one [state title], but to be a part of a run like that is really special,” said Wethington. “Golf is such a hard sport that it’s hard to improve quickly. It’s five or six guys putting in work from after school until dark, plus playing in summer tournaments. So when [the] state [tournament] rolled around, we were rea-dy.”
Wethington has held down the No. 1 spot for the Warriors the past two seasons. He stepped in for John Hilliard Catamzaro, a two-time state championship for Westbrook who currently is a member of the University of Georgia mens golf team.
“John Hilliard is a very good golfer and I had the opportunity of learn a lot from him. There’s a little bit of pressure [competing in the top spot], but I just try to enjoy it and focus on playing my best for the team.”
Wethington was also appreciative of the assistance Westbrook boys golf coach Jay Bowman provided over the past two seasons.
“Coach Bowman has an extensive know-ledge about the game in general. He’s helped me a lot with strategy and he knows so much about course management. He also has a lot of great drills and little competitions that you don’t realize at the time but end up helping your game once you start playing on the course. He’s definitely made a big difference in my golf game.”
Bowman sees Wethington making an immediate impact at the collegiate level.
“Will should adapt well because he’s a long hitter. He should be able to fit in and contribute right away, and I would expect him to start as a freshman. He’s been our No. 1 player for us the past couple of years, as well as a top player in the state. He’s also been a distinct leader and helped a lot with getting our younger players up to speed.”
Wethington and his teammates are focused on returning the state first-place blue trophy to 100 Westminster Drive. Westbrook will compete as a 3A team at the state tournament in May at Prattville.
“We weren’t even expecting to make it to state last year, so we were proud that we got second [place],” he said. “But, of course, the satisfaction wasn’t complete, so we looked at some things that we could change and we’ll give it another go this year.”