• December 7, 2019

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Corralez looks to make the most at state - Odessa American: Sports

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GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Corralez looks to make the most at state

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Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 5:50 pm

Even though it’s been nearly three weeks since it happened, Annika Corralez is still a bit shocked.

The Van Horn golfer is set to make her first appearance at the UIL Class 2A State Championships Monday at Roy Kizer Golf Club in Austin.

She starts her tournament at 8:50 a.m. off the No. 1 tee in a group with Harleton’s Heather McGill and Riesel’s Kayla McGuire.

“It feels shocking that it’s finally happening after the last couple of years,” Corralez said. “I feel prepared and ready to take on the state tournament.”

Corralez ensured her place in Austin with her performance at the Region I-2A tournament at Ratliff Ranch Golf Links on April 25, carding a two-round total of 167 (80-87) to finish as the second individual qualifier.

Making the state tournament field is even more rewarding after finishing one spot shy of qualifying a year ago. Because of that, Corralez says she’s not feeling as much pressure this time around.

“I actually felt more pressure at regionals going to state this year,” she said. “I feel more confident in myself.”

That growing confidence is something that stands out for head coach Adrian Norman.

He credits her parents for helping her along and this year is when he saw everything start coming together for the junior.

“I’ve seen her play golf with her parents and I knew she was a good player,” Norman said. “I was confident that she would be able to make it to state.

“I saw an all-around improvement in her. She put in a lot of work over the summer and everything came together pretty quickly.”

Even thought her game gelled at the regional tournament, Corralez is still looking for ways to improve.

One area of emphasis over the last couple of weeks is being more consistent off the tee. In fact, Corralez said she made a switch with the driver after the regional tournament and is pleased with the results so far.

“I really struggled with the driver both days of the regional tournament,” she said. “That’s what I’m focused on now. I feel more confident but we’re still working on it.”

Corralez feels like her game is in a good place entering the tournament. She is the second golfer from Van Horn to make it to state after Lezlie Jones qualified as a medalist two years ago. That year, Jones finished tied for 10th in a tournament that Annika went to watch

“I just saw that she kept her composure and never gave up,” Corralez said. “I just have to be able to do that as well and be confident no matter what happens.”

It’s a big stage for Corralez, but one she won’t shy away from, a mentality that Norman believes she can use to her advantage.

“The big stage won’t be new to her,” Norman said. “She’ll know what to expect and what it’s going to be like. She’s grown a lot and this shouldn’t scare her at all.”

It’s an opportunity that Corralez has worked for and, now that she has a spot on the other side of the ropes, is ready to make the most of during the two-day competition.

“I’m looking forward to making history and I want to compete and not just show up happy to be there,” Corralez said. “I’m really proud that I get to represent Van Horn this way.

“I just want to go out there, play well and give myself a chance and score as low as I can.”

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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