HOT SPRINGS — State high school championships were decided a lot differently 80 years ago.

On the golf course, the Richmond News Leader sponsored the Interscholastic Golf Tournament at the Country Club of Virginia, just outside of Richmond, to crown state winners.

And a tiny school from Bath County made big news at the event in both 1940 and 1941.

Valley High School, led by the twosome of Francis Tuke and Aaron Stinespring, won back-to-back state titles in the Class C portion of the tournament.

The Hornets were new on the scene in 1940, playing in the state event for the first time.

But their team score of 732 was good enough for the championship in the small-school division.

The Hornet, the school’s newspaper, documented the championship:

“The Valley foursome (Tom Richardson, Sidney Tidd, Harry Webb and Francis Tuke) and (Aaron) Stinespring (who competed as an individual) left for Richmond on Friday morning. In the afternoon the course was overcrowded with entries who were out to try the course. Tournament play began on Saturday morning. Both the morning and afternoon rounds were played in the rain.”

A total of 75 golfers representing 19 high and prep schools from all over the state played in the tournament.

Jefferson Senior High School, out of Roanoke, won the Class A portion of the event with a winning score of 647 and the Class B title was taken by Morrison High School, from Newport News, with a 713.

A year later, Tuke and Stinespring both returned and the Hornets won another trophy.

Tuke fired a two-round total of 170, the lowest individual score in Class C, to lead Valley High to a winning score of 713.

The Hornets’ score was 17 shots better than the Class A champs from Newport News.

Tuke won a golf club for his winning score.

Harry Chaplin and Wilbur Carpenter both shot 173 and Stinespring had a 197. Billy Burger competed individually for the Hornets and had a 179.

The teams’ co-captains, Tuke and Stinespring, received golf balls for the victory.

The newspaper said that the team was accompanied to Richmond by coach Ronnie Thompson.

Information from this story was obtained through the cooperation of the Bath County Historical Society.