AUSTIN — Maury Heers had to take a minute to hold back her tears.
The Hamilton girls golf team had just finished fourth at the UIL state golf competition at the Roy Kizer golf course in Austin.
“I’m so proud of them,” Heers said. “We’re a family. That’s what it is. They worked hard and they supported each other and pushed each other the entire way. To come to this point and finish as the fourth team in the state, there aren’t words to describe it.”
After shooting a 378 as a team on Monday, Hamilton fought the wind on Tuesday to finish with a 387 for a total of 765.
That left them 11 strokes back from third (Wellington), 27 from second (Forsan) and 36 from first (Memphis).
“I thought we played pretty steady, kind of how we have been all year,” Heers said. “There’s nothing that was really a surprise. We stayed steady and consistent to our game. They stayed inside themselves. I know they’re not thrilled with the way they played and where they finished and they know there are things they could have done different or whatever but I think we played our game. That’s something to be proud of for sure.”
Individually, Paige DeJong led the way for Hamilton as she finished tied for seventh with a score of 169 (85, 84).
She’s just a junior, which will help Her as she continues to build a girls golf team that three-peated as state champs from 1999-2001.
“It’s going to be tough,” Heers said. “We’re losing two pretty solid golfers. That’s going to be hard to replace. We just have to keep building the program. We’ve got a great support of family and people in town that are really behind the program. Hamilton has a history of good golf. They really push the program and support. That will help keep the program building and going moving forward.”
As Hamilton continued upon its storied history, Crawford was making some history of its own.
This year’s team of Hanna Williams, Bailey Griffith, Aubrey Poole, Hailey Vaughn and Cambree Aguire were the first ever girls golf team from Crawford to advance to state.
“I’ve been the golf coach for seven years now, and this is the first year that I’ve had more than one girl play,” Crawford coach Brent Elmore said. “I think the excitement at Crawford – I’ve had several girls tell me they want to play next year. I think we’ve done a good job of building that.”
They key to this excitement is Williams who shot a 181 (91, 90) her third time at state.
“Hanna’s success has been a big part of that and her getting down to state, getting the excitement down in Crawford,” Elmore said. “The other girls are seeing that and seeing her success and wanting to be a part of that.”
Crawford finished 11th at Roy Kizer golf course after shooting a 430 on Monday and a 439 on Tuesday.
“We struggled a little early on,” Elmore said. “We knew coming down here there were some pretty good teams. The way the girls finished, I was proud of how we finished. We didn’t start too well but we finished real strong.”
In 3A competition at Grey Rock golf course in Austin, McGregor’s Paige Gilstrap finished second individually as she shot a 158.
“Paige’s performance at state was an absolute black to coach and watch,” McGregor coach Jason Parson’s said. “ She was tied for sixth going into day 2. After shooting a day 2 score of 77 we thought she would at least manage to stay in medal competition. But as scores were coming in she took home 2nd overall, missing out by just two strokes.
Steelie Priest won a playoff for third in 4A competition at Slick Rock golf course at Horseshoe Bay in Marble Falls as she shot a 153.
“It’s a culmination of a great athlete who has received good instruction and who has worked extremely hard,” Lorena coach Ken Thompson said. “Steelie is a fantastic kid and it’s been a privilege to coach the past three years. She has represented Lorena High School with good character and dignity. We are extremely proud of her.”