Seeking State

Boys Tiger golf team places second in regionals, advances to state


Caden Rainwater

The boys golf team stands together after placing second in Regionals. After they won, they are to compete in State in Austin on May 17-18.

Story by Graci Henard, staff writer

The varsity boys golf team will head to the state tournament in Austin on May 17-18 after placing second at the regional competition. The team traveled to Rockwall on April 21-22 to compete in the UIL 5A regional golf tournament. 

Being one of three teams from their district who advanced, the boys planned to play their hearts out. The team acquired multiple wins over the season, and was on the hunt for another one. 

“It was important to emphasize to the guys that we didn’t have to try to do anything different or special,” head coach Ryan Huntze said. “At the end of the day, it’s just another golf tournament. There’s no need to try to perform better. Just do what you’ve done all year.”

The team was a favorite picked to advance to state, which made them want it even more. The pressure of winning, as well as advancing for the seniors, played a role in their mindset going into the tournament. 

“I knew I couldn’t play for the whole team so I just tried not to worry about them and they came through,” senior Carter Maneth said. 

The Tigers were in third place after the first day, carding a team score of 300. On day two, the team made a move and improved from their first day, concluding the tournament with a team score of 296. They finished second behind Highland Park. 

The pressure was definitely there but that’s what we have been preparing for all year. We took the March Madness mentality of just survive and advance.

— Carter Maneth, senior

“All our hard work for the last four years is starting to pay off and it feels great,” Maneth said. “I can already tell the pressure on us is going to be very high because this is our shot, we won’t get another because me and Camden [Robertson] are leaving, so we are going to work our tails off to get ready.”

With two seniors on the team, the excitement is even higher. Because COVID-19 cancelled last year’s UIL events, it makes this season even more special, reminding the guys to always play like it’s their last round. 

“I feel very excited and happy that I get to go to state my senior year,” senior Camden Robertson said. “I definitely would want it to be my senior year because it’s my last run at and we are going to give it everything we have.”

The team did not place second without facing some challenges throughout the rounds played. On the first day, sophomore John Patterson hit the incorrect ball, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. His honesty and integrity became evident when he informed his coach of the mistake. His actions make it clear that Huntze is building more than just a golf program, but young men as well.

“We saw what we thought was his ball. He hit that ball out of the hazard and then we realized that that wasn’t his ball,” Huntze said. “He told me, ‘Coach, this isn’t my ball.’ I was so proud of the integrity and the truthfulness. So easily could he have hit that ball and no one would have known. I was really proud of how he handled himself with that.”

The team’s persistence was also highlighted through their first day rounds. After a challenging front nine, junior Jack Wilson began to grind, finishing with six pars and helping the Tigers tremendously for their team score.

“Jack was having a tough stretch, and he really didn’t want to let down the team,” Huntze said. “They didn’t want this to be the last tournament, and I had to get in Jack’s face and just say ‘You have two choices: you can continue to do what you’re doing, or you can just let that all go.’ That’s hard to do, but he was able to do it. He literally made six pars in a row to finish the round and shoot 80.”

The team not only brought home well-earned hardware, but also life lessons that they will carry for future rounds. 

“I learned that no matter what happens during a round of golf you have to stay calm,” Wilson said. “If you don’t, it can go south fast.”

Not only did the team get second place, but sophomore Thomas Curry placed first, beating multiple college-bound players. After placing first at district, Curry had high hopes for regionals and certainly displayed his poise and confidence on the golf course.

“It is an awesome feeling to hold those two titles in one year and it is also nice to know all the hard work I put in is paying off,” Curry said. “To be the champion of Regionals and District has taught me that when we are coming down to the last nine holes and I’m around the lead, I can hold my own and make the putts that need to be made.”

For his coach, Curry winning was a monumental moment. Curry drained a must-make 10 foot putt on the final hole to win the tournament. This finish is not only amazing, but gives the team and Curry himself confidence going into the state tournament.

“His maturity has just developed so nicely over the last two years,” Huntze said. “He never once looked rattled coming down the stretch. He had to make about a 10-foot birdie coming in to win, and he drained it, so it was really cool to see that. I don’t think that it’s a fluke. Thomas is hitting the ball remarkably right now his confidence is key. Everything’s clicking on all cylinders for him, so I’m really excited.”

The state golf tournament will be, by no means, easy and winning will require two great rounds of golf. Losing to Highland Park at regionals gives the team some motivation and a goal to work toward in the coming weeks, since they are who is picked to win State. If the team can beat Highland Park and win state, they will be the first ever men’s team to win the title.

“Goals for state are simple: we have to beat Highland to win and that is going to be a challenge,” Curry said. “But I feel if we keep working hard we as a team we can bring home a ring and become the first men’s golf team for Texas high to win.”

With two seniors graduating, this is the last time the team will be this stacked with talent. They are hoping to make the best of this and shoot low at State. 

“I just want us to give our best effort,” Huntze said. “It’s been a fantastic year with both the guys and the girls team, so I know we can hang our hat that we’ve done, had an awesome year, probably the best year that I’ll have in a long time.”

With multiple titles already under the Tigers belt, they hope to add to their collection. The Tiger golf team will compete in the UIL State tournament at White Wing Golf Club in Austin, Texas, on May 17-18. 

“It’s been [a year[ to remember and cherish,” Huntze said. “Whatever happens at state, I just want to go out playing well and if we win, we win.”