Girls golf bring first state champion home


   After playing with the same golf ball with small black stripes and the same visor at each golf tournament, junior Grace Kilcrease heard the announcement. The girls golf team won state for the first time in the school’s history on September 30, 2020. Joining Klicrease was senior Abbey Ott, junior Claire Bowden, junior Macey Wyler, sophomore Lauren Milligan and freshman Charlie Whorton. 

I always play the same golf ball, titleist two with a black line, and wear the same visor every tournament,” Kilcrease said. 

The team played in a two day tournament. The top three scores were counted. The first day Conference Champions of 6A West and 6A Central were awarded, as well as Conference medalist. The team was announced as 6A West Conference Champions with their own conference medalist, Kilcrease. Half of the teams were out of the tournament due to higher scores from other teams that advanced to day two. On day two, they announced the winner of the State Tournament and All-State. Ott, Kilcrease and Whorton won both All-State and All-Conference. Kilcrease placed third and will compete in the Overall Championship, where she will compete against the top three golfers from all six classifications. 

“Key to victory was being able to get 3 good scores each day,” coach Timothy Aynes said. 

The team also went undefeated throughout their whole season. 

I was super ecstatic after winning, we had been on track all year to win because with every match we were undefeated but it was still a shock because there is definitely some anxiety not knowing if you are going to win or not,” Milligan said. 

According to Ott, the dynamic of the team has been, if you make a mistake, there is going to be someone else there to pick you up. 

“Golf is very much a mental game, and you have to be sharp on every single shot or you can get yourself into trouble quickly,” Ott said. “As our golf coach, Tim Aynes, stated, If you make a mistake, there is going to be someone else there to pick you up. That’s been the dynamic of our team throughout the year.  However, there’s also been a healthy competition between us as well, and when you play against great competitors, you will only get better.” 

Although the team started practicing mid July four to five times a week, many practiced on their own. 

“Leading up to this season I competed in a ton of summer tournaments in Arkansas and Oklahoma to play different courses and get lots of scoring rounds in,” Wyler said.”I also worked super hard with my swing coach to improve my consistency and distance all summer and into the school year.” 

While over the summer, Milligan played in state and national tournaments to prepare. 

I’ve prepared for this season about the same as I normally do,” Whorton said, “practice a lot on the golf course and play in tournaments around the country, but Covid-19 limited it to only surrounding states.”

Milligan also practices at the Springdale Country Club and Blessings Country Club. 

“All I can describe of the feeling after finding out we won state was happiness for my coach, team and Abbey, our only senior,” Whorton said. 

Ott is the only senior this year. She has been contacted by many different schools to play in college. 

“This year we are losing our senior and very close friend Abbey Ott,” Milligan said. “She has alway been such a great friend to me. That will be our biggest loss next season.” 

The team is excited to be a part of the first team to bring a state title home in golf. 

“It is obviously a great feeling to accomplish this goal,” Aynes said.”I know the Girls are thrilled and very excited to bring back Har-Ber’s first Conference and State Championships. We also finished the season undefeated which is a special accomplishment  in itself.”