Bobby Peschel didn’t know what to do with himself this time last year. For the first time in his tenure as Salado’s golf coach, Peschel’s season ended in late April when no member of the Salado boys or girls golf teams advanced to the state tournament.
“That was a real void because when you’re coaching golf at Salado, the expectation is you’re going to be coaching into May, and last year when we failed to qualify anybody, it was devastating,” Peschel said.
Thankfully for Peschel and first-year Lady Eagles coach Ty Brown, who relieved Peschel of coaching both teams this season, there’s plenty left to keep them busy as both Salado’s boys and girls teams make their return to the Class 2A state golf tournament today and Friday at Roy Kizer Golf Course in Austin.
Back in 2A for the first time since 2010, following a two-year stint in 3A, it’s the first time since 2009 that both Salado teams made to the state tournament.
“A lot of people dream about playing in the state tournament, but for Salado golf, it’s been more or less a way of life,” Peschel said. “That’s just something we expect, something we chose to accomplish and we’ve been very successful getting to the tournament.”
The last time the Eagles made state was in 2009 when then-senior Ryan O’Rear, now a senior at Baylor who won three-straight individual titles, led Salado to its second-straight 2A state championship. A year later, in 2010 the Lady Eagles followed suit, winning a fifth 2A state championship thanks to a second-place individual finish by Rachel VanHoozer.
Following a move to 3A the next year, both Salado golf teams struggled and neither Salado team advanced to state for the first time since 2001. Not that there wasn’t an Eagles presence.
In 2011, Taylor O’Rear, now a sophomore at UMHB, finished second overall for the Lady Eagles and Hankamer, then a freshman, was the boys’ lone representative.
“Most people don’t really understand how difficult to get to Austin to begin with, much less get two teams going at the same time,” Peschel said. “So I think it’s quite an achievement for our kids, and it’s something we’re proud of representing Salado golf.”
The Salado girls could be vying for the program’s sixth state title after winning the Region II-2A championship by 56 strokes ahead of runner-up Cameron Yoe, while the boys advanced with a second-place team finish at region.
The Lady Eagles open play today on hole No. 1 with Rachel Ray teeing off at 8:20 a.m., with teammates Molly Rodeffer, Kate Goldsmith, Sarah Colley and senior Meredith Ward following every 10 minutes.
The Eagles begin their quest when Javier Cruz-Cortez tees off at 11:40 a.m., while teammates Brandon Womac, Kase Spears, Kyle Heiner and Dane Hankamer following at 10-minute intervals.
The Gatesville boys and girls open play at the 3A tournament at the Jimmy Clay Golf Course with Malorie Summers teeing off first for the girls at 7:35 a.m. on hole No. 10, while Lampasas girls medalist Morgan Rogers starts at 8:35 a.m. Ryan Phillips begins the Hornets’ day at 12:05 p.m., also from hole No. 10.
Gatesville’s girls took third as a team last season behind a fourth-place individual finish by Katy Colson, now a senior, while the boys finished sixth with sophomore Zane Washburn losing in a third-place playoff for fourth individually.