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Friendly future rivals
Long-time teammates, FHS state golf champs Thornton, Brodd to be ‘Magnolia’ SEC rivals

Teammates for seven years while leading both Farragut High School and Farragut Middle School to golf state crowns, Erika Thornton and Jillian Brodd have split the egg among Southeastern Conference rivals.

The annual Egg Bowl college football rivalry in the Magnolia State, that is — Thornton will be cheering on her future college, Mississippi State, while Brodd is suddenly partial to rival Ole Miss, her future school.

Thornton gave an emphatic “I know” when reminded that her football Bulldogs upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa Nov. 4. In reference to her gridiron Rebels, “we almost beat Auburn, we almost beat Georgia, we almost beat Alabama,” Brodd said.

Thornton, at the top of the 2006 FHS state championship effort by winning the individual state crown, said “It’s kinda ironic that we’re teammates and we’ve been competing [alongside] each other to beat people not only four years, but ever since sixth-grade.”

Thornton made her choice official during a Nov. 8 signing ceremony at FHS. Brodd did the same at FHS Friday, Nov. 10.

Brodd, District 4-AAA champion in 2006 who finished sixth in the state tournament, has qualified for United States Girls Junior tournament two consecutive years.

As for MSU versus Ole Miss, “It’s a strong rivalry, that’s for sure. It’s kinda like Alabama and Tennessee,” Brodd said.

For Thornton, why the MSU Lady Bulldogs? “Definitely the full package, they have the greatest coach [Christi Sanders] I could ever find,” Thornton said. “I love the team, the campus, I couldn’t ask for anything better. They play on Old Waverly, which is one of the top courses in the United States.”

Thornton’s chances of SEC success rise because of, “Her experience of playing on the top junior tours across the southeast, even the nation,” FHS head coach Mike Driver said. “She’s such a strong competitor.

“She works on her game constantly, and I think that’s what it takes to play in the S-E-C. She has good length off the tee, which is really going to help her when she plays a lot longer courses once she gets to college.”

With the top five women for each school participating in each tournament, “I’m expecting to play every tournament,” Thornton said.

Thornton, 17, who said she considered “every S-E-C school,” finished fourth at state as a freshman, fifth at state as a sophomore before “falling” to 10th in 2005.

Brodd, 17, said that while Tennessee and South Carolina were in the picture, “It was really Ole Miss and Alabama, and when I went for my visit I just knew that [Ole Miss] is where I wanted to go.

“I just fell in love with the campus, I fell in love with the coach [Meghan Bolger], the school, the team. They have a few majors down there that I’m interested in, physical therapy or sports training, maybe pharmacy. That was a huge draw.

“I plan on playing in the top five.”

Driver said Brodd’s “work ethic is extremely strong, she’s willing to put the hours in to work on her game to make it as tuned as possible. I think she’s got a really good short game around the greens, saves a lot of strokes.

“She’ll have to get a little longer off the tee, but I think through conditioning and stuff like that, that’ll help her.”


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