Continuing the streak
May 13, 2009 at 12:13 a.m.
Back in 1982 a group of five girls began a streak that has become one of the longest running in UIL girls golf history.
Tracy Blair, Christa Moore, Laurie Matusek, Kim Tolbert and Roberta Harbers became the first Yoakum girls golf team to earn a berth to the state tournament that year and the streak has now reached 28 straight years.
After winning its seventh straight regional title and 18th overall, the Lady Bulldogs will tee it up again Thursday and Friday at the Roy Kizer Golf Course in Austin in search of their ninth state title.
"Actually we try not to even talk about the streak at all," said Lady Bulldogs coach Nicco Brown, who is the only Lady Bulldog to be a member of four state championship teams.
Brown was a member of the 1990, 91, 92 and 93 state title teams and took over the coaching reigns from her former mentor in 2001 where she was able to win her first state title as a coach in 2004.
Brown says her players usually put enough pressure on themselves by wanting to be the best, without having to worry about keeping the streak alive.
"To us it's not a big deal so we don't talk about it at all," said Brown. "These girls put more pressure on themselves to play well than they do on keeping the streak going. They want to be the best and they put that kind of pressure on themselves over whether or not we have to win this tournament or that tournament."
During the streak the Lady Bulldogs have earned 21 medals at the state tournament including six runner-up finishes and seven third-place finishes to go along with their eight state titles. The team has also won 24 district titles and 18 regional titles along the way.
Brown knows her team will once again have its work cut out if the Lady Bulldogs want to bring home a ninth title.
Region I will again provide the biggest challenge with Andrews and Monahans returning from last year with their entire teams intact from a one-two finish at last year's state tournament.
But this year the roles are reversed slightly as Monahans claimed the Region I title by 36 shots over Andrews and comes into the state tournament as the top seed.
"I know the Monahans players are long ball hitters and I think it's the same team they had last year," Brown said. "I don't think they lost anyone so they have that going for them and Andrews is in the same boat."
Brown is confident her squad can rise to the occasion with three players having already experienced the state tournament as well.
Brittany Miears will be making her third state appearance for the Lady Bulldogs, while Olivia Esparza and Larissa Loredo make their second trip and will be joined by newcomers Lauren Deauzat and Erin Jirkovsky.
"They know what it's all about," Brown said of her top three players. "The other two are so young in the game they are just going out to experience it all. We've played the course a couple of times this year and they know what to expect."
The Lady Bulldogs didn't show many nerves at the Region IV-3A tournament posting a two-day 697 and easily outdistancing runner-up Bandera by 67 shots.
Brown hopes her squad can carry over that success to Austin.
"If we play like we did at regionals we should be right in there," Brown said. "I know all the girls felt like they left a lot of shots out on the course as they all felt they could have played better. So, if we get a couple of more putts to fall and keep the ball in play we can be right in there."
NOTES: Miears will continue her career at Schreiner University, while Loredo is also mulling offers from three schools and may sign with UT-Brownsville. .Edna's Meredith Kresta will also be competing in the girls Class 3A tournament as a medalist. The 3A girls field will be comprised of Monahans, Andrews, Canton, Sanger, Carthage, Cameron Yoe, Yoakum and Bandera. .The Wharton Tigers, with three freshmen on the squad, will be making their first trip to the state tournament to compete in the Class 3A boys tournament. Wharton finished second in the Region IV-3A tournament. Team members for Wharton include Branden Rachunek, Casey Woodfin, Zach Freese, Dalton Woodfin and Drew Folmar. .Along with Wharton, the boys field will include Gatesville, Graham, Paris North Lamar, Prosper, Robinson, Longview Spring Hill and La Vernia.