CORINTH — Last year around this time, the Guyer boys were making history by becoming the first golf team from the Denton school district to qualify for the state tournament since 1992.
This year, the Wildcats are headed back to Austin after placing second in the Class 4A Region I tournament, and they’re bringing some friends with them.
The Guyer girls finished third at the regional tournament in Abilene by the skin of their teeth and will join the boys in Austin.
It’s been nearly 30 years since a girls golf team from Denton went to the state tournament, but now that milestone has been duplicated just like their male counterparts did last year, giving Guyer head coach Roddy Adams a welcomed, busy two days at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin today and Tuesday.
“It validates what we did last year,” said Adams, a lifelong Denton resident who has coached Guyer since the school’s opening and previously was the head coach at Denton and Ryan. “We’re obviously doing something right. We don’t want to rest on our laurels, though. We want to keep moving forward.”
Adams is having this run of success with a fairly unique formula, which happens to be a vast amount of parity within both his boys and girls teams, especially on the boys side.
Instead of having one can’t-miss golfer leading the pack and letting everyone else attempt to play the best they can, Adams’ teams both have five players who, on any given day, can be the top scorer. In high school golf, five golfers play for a team but each round only counts the four best scores, while the worst one is thrown out each day.
Guyer’s five boys — seniors Garrett Underwood and Grant Studdard, juniors Brady Hanley and Jeremiah Earle and sophomore Connor Ross — have scoring averages ranging from 77-79, and all five have played in the No. 1 spot at different times this year.
The girls side isn’t quite as even, but still relatively close. Junior Piper Gleadhill, senior Allison Flack and freshman Emily Hunt have all played as the No. 1, and freshman Launa Wilson and sophomore Sarah Zia have had their moments, as well.
“I’d rather not have that lead horse,” Adams said. “I say that, but if you have someone who can shoot 68 to 72 every time, maybe I change my tune. When I have five guys who can go from slightly below par to mid-70s, though, that’s less stress on a coach.
“If your so-called best player shoots bad, that means your team won’t score well if you just have a lead horse.”
That was never more evident than on Day 2 of the regional tournament for the girls, who started the day in sixth place before finishing third and earning a state tournament berth.
Gleadhill, who has the best scoring average on the team, had a bad day and her score was thrown out, but the other four girls all posted career days and landed the team a trip to Austin.
“It’s one of the best days I’ve had,” Flack said. “It was a lot of fun. We were in sixth place that morning, and we ended up in third place and in the state tournament by the afternoon.
“If one person has a bad day, another person might have a good day. It all balances out.”
Underwood, who will play golf next year at New Mexico Military Institute, said the unique setup of the boys team helps by making for some healthy competition within the team.
“We’re all really competitive, and it’s funny because none of us has played No. 1 for two straight days,” Underwood said. “Someone will beat out the next player and play No. 1 the next day. We’re always trying to beat the other person on our team.
“It’s stress-relieving. There’s no pressure on any of us. We all know we can lean on each other.”
Underwood said he was excited to see the girls team advance from the regional tournament and further the growing golf tradition at Guyer.
As for helping the girls calm their nerves and understand what to expect when they hit that first tee box this morning, Underwood said that is a lost cause.
“It’s going to happen, no matter what,” Underwood said with a chuckle. “They’re going to feel the nerves. We can tell them what it’s going to be like, but once they step on that tee, they’re going to feel it right away.”
All 10 players and Adams alike hope to see good finishes for both teams come Tuesday as the Wildcats continue to try to build a golf tradition after such a long drought in Denton golf.
“I think anytime you start a winning program, when kids are in the sixth or seventh grade they’re expected to be good golfers by the time they get to ninth grade so they can carry on that tradition,” Adams said. “Anytime you can start doing well, good things will come down the road.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.