ANDREWS There hasn’t been anything close to dust collecting in the Andrews girls golf team’s trophy case.
The Lady Mustangs have won an astonishing amount of tournaments this century and are seven-time defending state champions.
Andrews has amassed plenty of accolades during the championship run and as it starts the final 36 holes of its season this morning, there’s one more record the Lady Mustangs hope to tie.
As Paige Jennings tees off from the first tee to begin the Class 4A state tournament at 8 a.m. at Slick Rock Golf Course in Marble Falls, Andrews will begin the journey to tie the UIL state record for most consecutive girls golf championships.
That record has belonged to Booker for at least 25 years, as it won eight in a row from 1986 to 1993. The Lady Mustangs enter as the favorites to match that benchmark.
“We work hard all year, but once district hits, that’s when it’s like practice seven days a week, and until the sun goes down,” Andrews senior Kinzee McAllister said. “You really just work your hardest to finish strong and not let the streak die.”
Last season, the Lady Mustangs brought two teams to the state championship with the pair finishing first and third.
This year, there’s only one team making the trip to Marble Falls made up of Jennings, McAllister, Macy Schulze, Skyler Strube and Rachel Huffman.
That Andrews quintet won the regional tournament, with Abilene Wylie and Seminole taking the other two qualifying spots. Those figure to be two of the Lady Mustangs’ greatest challengers over the next two days.
“It puts more pressure on us which is sometimes what we need, a wake-up call,” Schulze said. “It’s not going to just to be given to us; we have to work for it. It’s a good wake-up call for everyone that they want it just as bad as we do.”
Andrews’ Brynlee Dyas will also be competing at the state tournament, after advancing from the Region I-4A Tournament as an individual.
This will be Andrews’ 11th tournament of the season. The Lady Mustangs didn’t win their first competition of the season, but were playing against the defending champions from Class 6A and Class 5A.
Since that tournament in San Antonio, Andrews has won nine straight. That consistency and previous state experience speaks for itself, but even first-year Andrews head coach Jeff Williamson realizes that no Lady Mustang is taking it easy.
Up until today’s first round, they were practicing drives, chips and putts as much as possible at Andrews County Golf Course.
“The work ethic here for these girls is amazing,” Williamson said. “The time that they put in on their own on the weekends and after practice and all that, is the reason why they’re good; these girls have every reason to feel entitled for what they’ve done, but they don’t.”
Since winning their seventh state title last May, the Lady Mustangs have played at Slick Rock Golf Course a few times. The course’s dips and fast greens are hard to replicate in the West Texas wind, but Andrews overcoming that hasn’t been a challenge in the past.
“I think after playing it so much you just realize that the course isn’t really that tough,” Huffman said. “It’s just tough if you make it tough to yourself.”
Andrews has also had success this decade because no Lady Mustang has treated golf as an individual sport.
While each stroke is on every individual, staying mentally strong is a team effort and helped Andrews get through any rough patch.
“It’s nice to know that you have players around you that are going to pretty much play good even when you have a bad day,” Huffman said. “There’s always someone you can count on. We know each other and we know how each other plays, and what gets us down and stuff.
“So when we see each other on the tee box and stuff were able to build each other up again if we’re doing bad.”