Titan girls earn 10th ranking in state

Dec. 5, 2010 at 6:05 a.m.
Updated Dec. 6, 2010 at 6:06 a.m.

Mike Smith is pleased with the first half of the season, especially with the way it ended.

The Victoria East girls golf team collected second place at the Northside Invitational at Concan Country Club in mid-November, no small feat in a field of 17 teams and several talented Class 5A teams in the field.

Ali Cowan finished third overall with a two-day score of 162. The team combined for a score of 718, just 19 shots off the winner, Cinco Ranch.

That performance was the culmination of a season of Top 5 finishes in tournaments throughout the fall, leading to the Titans earning the 10th spot in the state in Class 4A from the Texas High School Golf Association.

"We were pleased with that," said the golf coach. "We're getting there and I think we are going to be pretty good when it's over with."

Victoria East came away strong from the split of the two schools. Both schools got a good number of talented players from the original "A" team at Memorial, but the Titans players - who include Ali Cowan, Briana Reyes and Jackie Gonzales - have made good use of their experience from the season before.

"It's helped a lot, we have three of the first five from Memorial at East, Certainly that's helped a lot," Smith said. "Each tournament, we've been playing a little bit better."

High school golf rankings are done differently from those in football or basketball. In those two sports, the rankings are based on information supplied by coaches or from other members of the media. Meaning they can be wildly inaccurate.

The golf team rankings are done by a computer, Smith said, and are based on how each team finishes in the tournaments it plays in, and the type of competition it faces.

"Our goal is definitely to go to the state tournament," Smith said. "We have a legitimate chance to do that. We have to contend with Lake Travis, of course, but we feel we have a chance."

Ah, yes. The powerhouses from Austin.

Memorial ran into Austin Westlake last year at the Region IV-5A tournament in Edinburg, and shares a region with Lake Travis, which is rated the top Class 4A team in the state.

Given the resources at their disposal, beating Lake Travis is going to be an uphill battle.

"Austin Westlake and Lake Travis both have so many good golf courses and a lot to draw from. It's tough to compete with," Smith said. "We're going to do the best we can and hopefully work harder and improve."

But Victoria East has a lot of things going for them, not the least of which is the district alignment. District 30-4A, with just six teams, is the smallest golf district in Class 4A; most average eight teams and some are as many as 10. And none of the schools prior to this year are known as powerhouses in the sport.

And District 30-4A play isn't going to be a walk on the fairway either.

"The West is a good team and they are getting better," Smith said. "We're going to have our hands full with them when district rolls around."

The Victoria East girls golf team has completed its first half of the season, while Victoria West will be playing in the Corpus Christi King Invitational next weekend. The Lauren Johnson Memorial Classic in early February will be when the Titans and the Warriors both start their seasons.


The wind was blowing hard and the temperature made things uncomfortably cold.

Normally, those aren't conditions that allow for a good golf day. That was no reason for Ali Cowan to have a bad day.

The East sophomore won a Texas Junior Golf Tour event at River Ridge Golf Club in Sealy over the weekend, earning her sixth exemption onto the AJGA tour.

Why is that significant?

"It's the tour that all these kids are trying to get onto because college coaches do their recruiting," said her mother, Renea Cowan.

Those exemptions allow someone to play in the AJGA tournament.

Ali Cowan's score could have easily been better, too. Renea Cowan said she had a chance to putt for birdie 10 times, but only two fell. The greens, she said, were playing faster than normal.


Junior tennis player Victoria Keller went down to the wire in the finals, but won the Houston Tennis Association ZAT Tournament in the Girls division Red 16s.

The final match she played in went down to the wire, beating Hali Martin 7-5, 4-6, 10-5 to win the tournament. The field included 23 players. Eight players, including Keller, drew byes. The junior for the Warriors didn't lose a set until the final match.

John Hornberg covers Victoria East and West for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him by e-mail at jhornberg@vicad.com, or comment on this column at AdvoSports.com.



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