Hargrave golf headed to State on the heels of a regional championship
The Hargrave boys golf team has been to the state tournament before—they went in 2016 and 2017, but this year they are going for the first time as regional champions.
The Falcons won the Region III-4A tournament at Raven Nest golf club with a two-day combined score of 649, finishing 24 strokes ahead of the second place team.
“The last couple of times we went to State, we went in as the third place team from Region III, so it was more of a celebration that we were going,” said coach Joey Buchta. “Now we’re going in as one of the top teams and very excited about the chance of possibly earning a medal, a higher finish than we have in the past.”
Senior Austin Douglas is making his fourth appearance at the state tournament. While he feels that having experience will help him handle the pressure and the nerves, he’s not sure how much of an advantage that is because the state tournament is being played at a new golf course, Plum Creek in Kyle, though he did go play the course four times over Spring Break.
Douglas dropped nine strokes-from 87 to 78-from his first round to his second round at the regional tournament.
“The first day, the pressure wasn’t a problem. I was still hitting it where I wanted to, and then, whenever I got over the ball, it didn’t feel like everything was lining up, so I couldn’t mentally put everything together; everything was just all over the place,” he said. “By the next day, I just got my head together. Everything started matching up. I trusted the process and then ended up playing a good bit better.”
Senior Michael McCollough finished with the top score among the Hargrave golfers. His two-day total of 156 (76 and 80) gave him the fourth best individual score at the tournament, one stroke behind third place and three strokes behind second place
He admitted that, walking off the course he was frustrated by his four-putt on the 18th hole which cost him placing, but he felt good that he had put up a good score to help the team.
Kaleb Rapsilver finished tied for 11th wth Douglas and three other golfers with a two-day total of 165 (77 and 88). Chance Shelby finished in 16th place with a two-day total of 168 (87 and 81).
While Buchta has never played Plum Creek, he believes that two-day score team score below 630 should put them among the top teams, and he believes the team is capable of putting up a score like that if everyone plays well. He thinks the course is easier than the course at which the regional tournament was played.
The boys 4A state golf tournament will take place at Plum Creek Golf Resort in Kyle on May 20 and 21.
Sophomore Avery Nolte’s two-day score of 174 (91 and 83) at the regional tournament gave here the seventh best score for an individual, qualifying her for the state tournament as an individual.
Buchta believes she is the first girls golfer from Hargrave to ever advance to the state tournament.
Going into the tournament, her goal was simply to improve upon her score from the previous year’s regional tournament, which wasn’t as good as she had expected.
When Nolte saw the other scores after the front nine on the second day, she was confident that, if she kept up her play, she would qualify for the state tournament.
“She avoided the big numbers,” Buchta said about Nolte’s dropping eight strokes from the first round to the second round. “On day one she actually played well. She just had a couple big numbers on two holes and the rest of the day was pretty solid. Day two she just avoided the big numbers and strung a lot of pars together early and held it together on the back nine.”
“I’m honestly very thankful for the first day,” Nolte said. “It showed me the things I was doing wrong and what I could improve on from that day to the second, so I was able to take the mistakes that I made on the first day and change those, which heavily impacted my score the second day.”
She said stepping up to the first tee on the first day with everybody watching will be by far the most nerve-wracking part of the experience.
The girls 4A state golf tournament will take place at Plum Creek Golf Resort in Kyle on May 13 and 14.
Crosby relay team earns wild card spot to qualify for the state meet
Nine 4x200-meter relay teams from across the state qualify for the state meet, the two fastest teams from each of the four regional final races and the fastest third place team from among the four regions.
The Crosby relay team finished third at the Region III-5A finals. They found out on Twitter a couple hours later that they were the wild card team.
Coach Johnnie Freeman said that their region is one of the toughest in the state, making the accomplishment of qualifying for the state tournament an even more special achievement.
The team’s time in the regional final race was a minute and 26.68 second, finishing two one-hundredths of a second ahead of fourth place.
Their goal for the state meet is a time right around a minute and 24 seconds.
The team consists of Marquise Doucette, Emonte Wilson, Zackquan Smith and Marcus Jnoffinn, with alternates Caleb Clay and Jonathan Fuselier.
Chardae Van Zandt qualifying for the state meet in the high jump for the second consecutive year.
She won the regional championship with a height of five feet and seven inches.
Her personal record is five feet and eight inches.
Her goal for the state meet is five feet and ten inches.
“I just feel that I know I’m going to make the jump,” Van Zandt said of her mindset when approaching the jump. “I don’t worry about missing it.”
The state track and field meet will take place on May 10 and 11 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
Record breaking relay team leads Hargrave track and field contingent
The Hargrave girls 4x100-meter relay team set a school record for fastest time at the District meet on April 4. They set another record two weeks later in the Area meet. They broke that record in the preliminary race at the Regional meet and broke that record again in the regional final meet.
Coach Kris Gilmore was pretty sure that the team would need to run a sub-49 second time to advance to the state meet. They ran 48.60 in the regional preliminary race, breaking the school record by over half a second and ran 48.51 seconds in the regional final race, finishing second and becoming the first Hargrave girls relay team ever to advance to the state meet.
“We come out here. We’re determined, and we work so well together,” senior Brooke Koenig, who runs the first leg of the relay team said about the team’s record-breaking success. “Our track team is very definitely a family. We hang out outside of track. We communicate with each other. We have a bond like no other, and I think it’s that bond that has carried us as far as we have come because we work so well together and we all have the same goal.”
She admitted feeling extremely nervous standing at the starting line ready for the beginning of the race.
“Honestly, I think it was when Brooke and I had our handoff (between the first and second leg) because it was so good,” senior Destiny Solley recalled looking around and feeling confident that the team would qualify for state.
Sophomore Jada Rodela ran the third leg of the race, and junior Lauryn-Ashli Harris ran the anchor leg.
The four ran over to each other and shared a big group hug upon confirmation that they had qualified for State.
Koenig also qualified for the state meet in the long jump, finishing second at the regional meet. She’s used to competing in five track and field events, so she isn’t worried about the challenge of competing in two different events at the state meet.
She jumped 17 feet, five and a half inches at the regional meet. Her goal for the state meet is to jump 18 feet.
Freshman Emmy Nolte won both the girls 1600-meter and 3200-meter final races at the regional meet, so she will be competing in both distance races at the state meet.
Junior Peyton Pluenneke finished second in the boys 1600-meter final race in the regional meet with a time of nine minutes and 51.65 seconds, so he will be competing in that race at the state meet.
The state track and field meet will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11 at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
Hargrave tennis players headed to State for the first time in over four decades
The last time a tennis player from Hargrave High School made it to the state tournament was in 1976.
The mixed doubles pair of seniors Garrett Goodman and Rachel Willkens have ended that drought.
“Ever since their freshman year, they’ve put in hard work pretty much year round,” said coach Kyle Mead. “They set a goal their freshman year to make it to State by senior year. they’ve done the work outside of school-taking lessons and doing drills-in order to put them in that situation to be successful their senior year.”
Both Goodman and WIllkens played singles their freshman and sophomore years, and they were planning on continuing to do so their junior year.
Seeing that they were two of the strongest players, Mead paired them up in practice for a week and at a tournament and “it just went up from there.”
Only eight 4A teams from across the state, two from each region, advance to the state tournament.
Goodman and Willkens received a first round bye at the regional tournament and won their quarterfinal and semifinal matches, before falling to Palestine 6-4, 6-4 in the regional final.
They were up 4-3 in each set.
“We were excited that we were going to state, but we felt like we could have won that,” Willkens said. “We were happy and upset at the same time.”
Starting with the quarterfinal matches, the format at the state tournament is single-elimination.
The regional tournament was also single-elimination format.
“Garrett is a four-time regional qualifier. Rachel is a three-time regional qualifier, so regional itself wasn’t really nerves because they knew their capabilities and they knew they had been there before, unlike as a freshman or a sophomore,” Mead said. “Hopefully, that experience will also come into play at the state tournament.”
The pair have three private lessons this week. They come out early before athletic period and stay late.
“We started off the year we excited because we know this is our last year and this both of our fourth year playing, so we just came in more relaxed and we had that experience on our side,” Goodman said. “Then as the year went on we got better and better. We won a few tournaments and then won district, so we went into regionals pretty confident,” Goodman said.
He said, he expects there to be some nerves when they get to the state tournament but said that the nerves always calm down quickly once they start playing.
The state tennis tournament will take place on May 16 and 17 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center at Texas A&M University in College Station.