GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Compass Academy debuts, Andrews aims to extend title streak as area teams tee off at state

While some area girls high school golf teams will look to add to their impressive title runs, others will be making their state tournament debut.

The team from Compass Academy falls in the latter category, sending four golfers to compete at the Class 3A State Tournament at ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor. The Lady Cougars advanced after placing third in the Region I-3A Tournament in April in Baird.

Head coach Jennifer Lopez refers to the team made up of sophomores Aubrey Stone, Allie Scott, Sierra Dobbs and freshman Jordyn Cruz as “the little team that could.”

“When we went to district, I knew they had a lot of potential to be competitive,” Lopez said. “To tell them that and them actually see it are two totally different things.”

The Lady Cougars are looking for more after opening the regional tournament in second place. The close finish motivated the team to focus on its short game.

“That’s where they felt they dropped the ball a little bit,” Lopez said. “They’ve been trying to master their short game.”

Andrews enter the Class 4A state tournament motivated to keep its long title streak intact. The Lady Mustangs begin their title defense at Plum Creek Golf Course in Kyle Monday looking for their 10th straight title and 18th overall. The team had the opportunity to accomplish the feat last season until the ongoing coronavirus pandemic cut that chance short.

Andrews golfer Brynlee Dyas hits her tee shot on the first hole during the opening round of the girls Tall City Invitational Feb. 21, 2020, at Ranchland Hills Golf Club in Midland. (Tony Venegas|Odessa American)

The team consists of Sarah Strube, Peighton Manning, Bailey Ballou, Jordyn Hall and Brynlee Dyas. In addition, teammates Alexza Madrid and Kyleigh McGowen will compete as individuals.

Four of Andrews’ top five golfers from last season returned this year and Andrews head coach RJ Lester said his team’s mentality throughout the campaign was to finish the unfinished season.

“Up to this point, so far we’ve done that,” Lester said. “We’ve got just the one tournament to go to put the nail in the coffin and really get last year behind us.”

Dyas, one of three seniors on the team, is using her past experiences to keep her teammates motivated.

“Everyone is physically prepared, we just got to get mentally prepared for it,” she said.

Seminole’s Kendra Elias is also competing as an individual medalist after winning a playoff at the Region I-4A Tournament in Lubbock. The junior was shocked when Seminole head coach Mitch Shain first told her she would be advancing and says she’s shifted her focus to working with wedges and hitting the greens.

Shain added that he hopes having an individual competing at the tournament can provide motivation for the rest of the Maidens.

In Class 2A, Wink is making its third trip to the state tournament in school history. The four Lady Cats — Danni Akers, Emily Valenzuela, Analia Hernandez and Ashlee Blackburn — will tee off in the Class 2A State Tournament at Legends Golf Course in Kingsland. It’s a different feeling this time after the tournament was held in Austin in previous years.

Head coach Charlie Stodghill said that the Lady Cats have worked on aspects of course management and their short game over the past few weeks. He added there were moments his golfers couldn’t hit a driver at the regional tournament which shouldn’t be as much of a factor with a more wide-open course in Kingsland.

In addition, the head coach believes having a smaller team gives some of the younger golfers in the school district someone to look up to.

“Not that they will all stick with it, but it’s definitely an encouragement for building in the future,” Stodghill said.

All state tournaments tee off beginning at 8 a.m. Monday and conclude Tuesday.

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