GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Lady Mustangs eyeing 19th state title

ANDREWS Death, taxes and the Andrews girls golf team going to state every year.

The defending state champion Lady Mustangs are back at the Class 4A girls golf championship after winning their 13th consecutive regional title last month in Lubbock.

With a record-leading 18 UIL state championships, Andrews is looking to add another trophy to its enviable collection.

The Lady Mustangs will get a chance to do that when the two-round tournament begins on Monday and finishes up the following day at Legends Golf Course in Kingsland.

This year’s team won the Region I title despite losing two seniors from last year’s state title-winning squad.

“It’s been the goal for us since day one to make it back to the state tournament,” Andrews head coach Mark Burgen said. “Our three returners from last year have set the bar pretty high in terms of expectations. Our two new additions (Sloane Livingston and Abby Ballou) were alternates last year and got to experience state as a spectator-type of atmosphere. But they’ve played in every tournament this year I think they’re battle-tested and ready to go.”

The Lady Mustangs finished with a team score of 308-304—612 from the Region I tournament which took place April 17-18 at the Shadow Hills Golf Course in Lubbock.

Joining Andrews at state from Region I will be Canyon, which finished second at regionals with a score of 314-322—636 and Seminole (313-324—637).

Burgen knows just how difficult Class 4A Region I is each year.

Last year, Canyon ended up finishing runner-up behind Andrews at the state championship.

“Our region is always the toughest,” Burgen said. “Last year, in our region, we were first and Canyon was second. Canyon and Seminole will be competitive.”

Other teams that will be back include last year’s third place team Comal Davenport, which didn’t lose any seniors from a year ago.

Frisco Panther Creek is another team that Burgen said could be tough.

“There are a couple of newcomers like Frisco Panther Creek that’s making its first appearance in only its second season around,” Burgen said. “They have some solid players. They’ll be tough. Last year’s third place team Comal Davenport is returning everybody. Every team competitive.”

While the Lady Mustangs lost Kyleigh McGowen and Peighton Manning to graduation last spring, Burgen said this year’s leaders have stepped up as Andrews returned seniors Zoe Woemmel and Emma Carrasco and junior Emme Darnold from last year’s championship squad.

“It’s always tough replacing senior leadership,” Burgen said. “We had a couple of good ones who had been with the program for a long time and it was neat to see them finish their senior years with a state championship. But our seniors this year have done a good job of stepping up and leading the way. I think we’re as prepared as we can be heading into the tournament.”

Carrasco and Darnold both finished tied for second individually at regionals.

Carrasco went 72-77—149 while Darnold shot 79-70—149.

“The first day, I didn’t perform well,” Darnold said. “The second day, I shot 70 so I performed better. It was a little rocky but it can always be worse and it can always be better. I’m just happy with how I finished.”

The players are hoping to bring home another trophy.

“’We’re excited,” Carrasco said. “We we’ve been putting in a lot of hard work. I think we’ll do well because a lot of us are dedicated.”

Going out with back-to-back state championships would be even sweeter.

“I think it’d be amazing considering I’ve been on the team for the last two years,” Woemmel said, who has signed to play golf at Friends University in Wichita, Kan. “It would be special to be a part of that experience.”

As for how practices have been this week, the players are trying not to lose focus.

“I feel like this week has been one of our best weeks of practice,” Darnold said. “We’ve walked in, focusing on the end goal and working hard to get to where we need to be.”