GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Andrews looking to add to its success

Playing late into May has become an annual tradition for the Andrews girls golf team.
If you head to the team’s practice facility, you find an ever-growing reminder of the number of district, regional and state titles the program has won.
A list that has continued to grow during the Lady Mustangs’ run to eight consecutive state championships even as this year’s squad looks to make it nine in a row Monday and Tuesday at the UIL Class 4A State Championships at Plum Creek Golf Club in Kyle.
“We’re really excited and we don’t ever get tired of winning,” head coach Jeff Williamson said. “The girls have worked their tails off this year to get to this point.
“We still have goals we want to obtain and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
One of those goals is to take home another state crown. If successful, it would be the program’s ninth in a row and break a UIL record for most consecutive titles in state history.
It’s a record that the team knows abou,t but something the players don’t dwell on.
“We know it’s there but we don’t focus or talk about it too much,” senior Skylar Strube said. “We just try to focus on our own scores and do the best we can.”
“It’s awesome but it definitely feels surreal knowing that it’s my last year that I get to do this,” senior Paige Jennings said. “I’m excited to try and go claim that title once again.”
Both Strube and Jennings will play key roles for the Lady Mustangs. After playing in the state tournament last year, they will be looked to lead a relatively inexperienced team, at least at this competition.
Fellow senior Alyssa Gerhardt will get her chance to play after watching as an alternate last year. She joins sophomores Brynlee Dyas and Jordyn Hall to round out the five. For Gerhardt, she’s ready to make the most of her chance.
“It’s special for me because it is the first time I get to actually play and not just go as an alternate,” Gerhardt said. “I learned last year by watching (Paige and Skylar) that you need to work hard and there’s no time for slacking off.”
That mentality helped Andrews clinch a regional title back on April 23 in Lubbock. After dealing with a delayed start and wet conditions, the Lady Mustangs shot a two-day total of 611 (307-304) that included two of the team’s best rounds of the year.
And after having to play a number of other tournaments in less than ideal weather conditions, the team is confident about what it can achieve.
“I ended up shooting my lowest round ever during regionals,” said Gerhardt, who fired a final-round 73, “Our team has the mental toughness to overcome those conditions.”
The Lady Mustangs will need every bit of that mental toughness and more to bring home another state crown. That journey begins at 9:10 a.m. off the first tee paired with Midlothian Heritage and Lampasas.
With a record on the line, Jennings acknowledged that there is some extra pressure going to state this time around. But she and the rest of her teammates are just trying to stay focused on themselves.
“The pressure is different this year because if we win, we break the record,” Jennings said. “As long as we keep working hard, we can overcome any of that pressure.”
It’s exactly the kind of attitude that Williamson wants to see from the team.
“We have a different team every year and we want to win with this team,” he said. “The record is great and people like to talk about it but we don’t talk about it that much.
“We talk about having two solid rounds and worry about what we can shoot. That’s what we’re after and we’ll see where we stand after that.”
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