GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Monahans returns to state

The Monahans girls golf team set the same goal as every other Class 4A squad in the state prior to the 2019 season — make it to the state tournament.
It took some persistence but the Lady Loboes were able to make that dream a reality and now are one of just 12 teams still playing for the crown, beginning Monday at Plum Creek Golf Club in Kyle.
It’s the first state tournament appearance for the program since 2014 and the team is anxious to make the most of its opportunity.
“It feels great to accomplish this goal of making state and having all of us go together,” senior Ozlyan Juarez said. “It feels like all our hard work has paid off.”
“Going into my freshman year, I never thought it was going to happen,” senior Lauren Salazar said. “Being able to accomplish that is pretty cool.”
Juarez and Salazar will lead the Lady Loboes, with Kenadi Igelhart, Anevay Porras and Madi Yanez rounding out the team.
Making the state tournament may have started as a dream, but this group began believing in itself during the regional preview tournament.
At that tournament, head coach Courtney Rutledge saw her team showcase its ability to make a run.
“We ended up getting third out of 18 teams,” Rutldege said. “After that, that’s when I sat back and thought that this team was perfectly capable of doing this.
“I’ve had this group for three years now and we’ve gotten better each year. So it’s nice to see that hard work pay off for them.”
The experience is even more rewarding for Rutledge as she returns to state with a team for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
That year, she helped the Lady Loboes win a Class 3A team state championship. Rutledge said that the experience is just as rewarding then as it is now but she has a different perspective on it now.
“Taking a team makes you feel like you’re a part of it even more,” she said. “It’s been incredible to watch the team grow and see how much they’ve improved.
“I just hope they have a great experience. It’s a great opportunity to play a great golf course with the best teams in the state of Texas.”
That growth was evident three weeks ago during the Region I-4A Tournament in Lubbock. The Lady Loboes found themselves tied for second place with Argyle and just four strokes ahead of Snyder after the first round.
After dealing with rainy conditions, the Lady Loboes were able to prevail out of that group by shooting a 313 to finish in second place behind Andrews, which finished as regional champion.
That final round was something that not only punched a ticket to state but also showed that the Lady Loboes were up to the task of competing in a high-pressure atmosphere.
“The way we handled that pressure during that final round is amazing,” Rutledge said. “I attribute that to the tournament schedule that we played against some really tough teams.”
The goal now is to put that together for two rounds at the state tournament. That will not be an easy task considering Andrews is aiming for its ninth straight state title.
Being familiar with the top target in the state is something that Monahans hopes it can use to its advantage and put on a good showing.
“We were right there with Andrews at regionals,” Iglehart said. “We just have to go out and play well and see if we can stick with them there.”
“The competition definitely pushed us harder to do well,” Juarez said. “Our team has definitely grown with the time we’ve put in to get better and we’re determined to show just how good we are.”
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