MCS teams hope to contend at the state tournament

It’s always special when high school golf teams are competing in the final tournament of the season. Both the Midland Christian boys and girls programs will be doing just that and hopefully contend for a state title or at least a medal at the TAPPS 6A State Tournament next week.

Both teams qualified after placing fourth in the always tough TAPPS 6A North Region tournament last week in Carrollton. They will begin play in the state tournament, beginning Monday at the Wildflower Country Club in Temple.

“The goal every year is to make this last as long as possible and we’re excited to get to spend our last week together at the state tournament, and hopefully we play our best two rounds of golf this year,” said MCS boys Coach Trent Langford. “We really like where we’re at. We’ve been playing our best golf in the last two to three weeks. ”

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about these girls,” said girls Coach Paula Bettis, a former Lee High School and University of Oklahoma golf standout. “When I took this job in August of 2021, I had no idea that this was going to be where we ended up. I knew the girls had a lot of potential but the girls were able to buy in to my experience with golf and they bought into the practice routines that I got them into. We won our first tournament in Hobbs and we were shocked and they have gone on to do so well in the other tournaments as well. ”

The boys’ team, made up of senior Hayden Zachry, Juniors Kade Burton and Tyler Bales, and sophomores Jake Humble and Wesley Gipson, improved by 12 strokes from the first round to the final round. Burton led the Mustangs by placing ninth individual with a 76-74-150 total.

“I thought we did a good job of handling ourselves in the first round when things didn’t go our way early,” Langford said after his team shot 328. “We had some guys with some big numbers but they protected the team and posted the best numbers they could. Our junior, Kade Burton, helped us maintain our average. ”

Langford added that in the last four tournaments, the team has had four different golfers finish with the lowest score, and that ability gives the Coach hope that they can do well at state.

“We have a really competitive group,” Langford said. “They’re all Talented and each can shoot even on any given day.”

Bettis said what she likes now of her girls’ team is their camaraderie and closeness.

“The word ‘team’ probably doesn’t describe them well enough,” she said. “They are always asking about their other teammates. They never worry about themselves as individuals. There is such a cohesiveness among them. That is what has led them to be so successful. ”

The team, made up of Seniors Kylie Rodriguez and Tatum Fleming, Juniors Amie Weaver and Jazmin Highley and sophomore Sammy Setiadarma, are looking to add to the program’s trophy case with the Lady Mustangs’ eighth state title but first since 2017.

Rodriguez, who came back to MCS after a stint at Odessa Permian, has been playing very well this year and was the runner-up medalist at region after a 74-74-148 total. Earlier this year, she also set a course record at Gaines County Golf Course with a 66 during the Seminole Invitational.

“She is as consistent as consistent comes,” said Bettis of Rodriguez, who will be playing at Odessa College next year. “Golf is her priority over everything else as she puts 100 percent into everything she does.”

Setiadarma, a Lee High School transfer, is also coming off a good region tournament, by placing ninth individually with a 90-78-168.

Both coaches know that it’s not going to be easy contending for a medal next week as there are several high-quality teams in both divisions. The keys for both squads are to be consistent and try to stay away from the high scores.

On the boys’ side, Trinity Christian Academy-Addison, Plano John Paul II and Antonian Prep should be on the teams to watch, while John Paul II, TCA-Addison and Ursuline Academy of Dallas are expected to be the top contenders among the girls.

“This isn’t going to be a cake walk,” Bettis said. “If we can eliminate some of the big numbers, we have a really great chance. I just want to say the support that we’ve gotten from the school and especially the parents have been tremendous and that will also be helpful. ”

Added Langford: “We’re excited to play against some elite-level Talent. There are two to four teams shooting in the 290s but as a Coach I love watching my team play. These guys are playing well, and we’ll just see what happens. ”

Follow Oscar on Twitter: @OLeRoy_MRT

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