JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Jackson Skeen, a senior on the Boys Golf team at Science Hill High School.
You might look at golf and see rolling hills, covered in a sea of green that calms the soul.
“Yes it is, I feel really calm here, no one’s bothering me, and yeah its quiet too that really helps,” senior boys golf player Tarun Hoskere said.
It’s just quiet. Serene.
“It’s beautiful in its own way,” senior boys golf player Jackson Skeen said.
Jackson Skeen sees it that way, and sometimes he doesn’t.
“He likes to have fun, make one too many jokes,” Hoskere said.
“When I’m just playing with my friends we like to have fun,” Skeen said.
But when he’s in action for the Science Hill boys golf team, he’s locked in.
“You just know it’s a tournament right when you wake up, so as soon as I wake up I’m zoned in. Even the night before I’m just thinking about it. It’s pretty easy for me to flip the switch and go when I need to go,” Skeen said.
“Jackson as a teammate, he’s definitely someone we all look up to just with his game and his mentality, something the rest of us have been trying to get,” Hoskere said.
Jackson is in his senior season, and his dreams just keep coming true. He’s headed to the University of Tennessee in the Fall, to play on the men’s golf team.
“When I was growing up I loved the University of Tennessee and everything about it so to be able to play there for a sport, especially compete for them it means the whole world to me,” Skeen said
But this was not always the case for the senior. He was committed to Middle Tennessee State University.
MTSU coach Brennan Webb left last summer to become the coach at UT, and he wanted to bring Jackson along with him.
“When I got the call from him the first thing he said was ‘you ready to be a Tennessee Volunteer’ and I said oh yeah couldn’t imagine anything else for it,” Skeen said.
After that, Jackson saw his golf game soar. Last year, he won a share of the individual state title in boys golf.
“He’s the first in Science Hill history to come in first so that’s quite an accomplishment, and that’s a characteristic of him, he’s always been a hard worker and the thing about him is he’s a team first guy,” head coach Kevin Vannoy said.
Yes a team first guy because Science Hill also won the team state title.
“This is an individual sport most of the year for these guys but he has this unique ability that he’s here for the team,” Vannoy said. “It doesn’t matter about him first, it’s about the team and that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most about him is the team attitude.”
For Jackson, it’s about soaking up this last ride with the Hilltoppers.
“It’s been pretty fun already, I’ve done a lot of stuff with my friends. It feels different being a senior doing it but I’m kinda sad too knowing its my last year, so I’m gonna make the most of it,” Skeen said.
The Hilltoppers started their season in July with a couple of summer tournaments.
“Just to watch these young kids hit with their skill level, I’m in awe to come out here and see them so if you haven’t played, go play and you’ll see how hard it is to hit that little white ball but it truly is amazing to see the top level.”
And at that level, is a sincere appreciation for the game of golf, and all it has to offer.
“I’m a perfectionist and golf’s a sport that you can never perfect so just chasing it every day just trying to be perfect just keeps me going every single day, it’s like addicting, it is addicting,” Skeen said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.