By Alex Byington and Angel Verdejo
Harker Heights Herald
Girls MVP - Taylor O'Rear, Salado
After spending a week mourning her collapse on the final six holes of the Class 3A state golf tournament, Taylor O'Rear picked up her clubs and got back to work. Planning to golf at Mary Hardin-Baylor next year, the Salado senior knows she has a bright future to look forward to. But it was a conversation with a fellow Salado athlete that really put the past four years of golf into perspective.
"We were just talking and he was like, 'So how many state medals do you have?' and I was like, 'Um, like three,' and he was like, 'Shut up,'" she said laughing.
"You don't realize that's not everyone else's mentality until you start talking to other people in other sports or other teams."
O'Rear takes the most pride for helping the Lady Eagles win their first Class 2A state championship last season and fifth all time. But, it was her performance individually this season - winning silver with a two-day score of 148 (71-77) - for which she was selected as Daily Herald's All-Area girls golf MVP.
However, O'Rear did lose a two-stoke lead before falling in a playoff to finish second individually,
"I got to learn a lot about pressure, I've never been in this situation being tied for the lead - I'm much more comfortable being two (strokes) down," O'Rear said.
Lauren Davis, Lampasas (Jr.) - Shot a two-day total of 166 (81-85) at the 3A state tournament, helping the Lady Badgers finish third after winning both the 25-3A and Region IV-3A titles.
Carmen Gonzales, Lampasas (Jr.) - A state qualifier last year in 4A, Gonzales was the Lady Badgers' top finisher at the 3A state tournament, posting a two-day total of 163 to finish 16th.
Kristen Smithhart, Gatesville (So.) - Tied teammate Heather Raico with a 179 at the 3A state tournament after posting the low round on the second day of the Region III-3A tournament.
Jordan Sniggs, Belton (Sr.) - Shot a team-best 178 at the Region II-5A tournament, leading the Lady Tigers to a ninth-place finish after winning their first district championships since 2006.
Boys MVP - Stayton Lindeman, Lampasas
Stayton Lindeman hasn't forgotten the way he lost the playoff for the Class 3A individual crown at the state tournament two weeks ago.
But it hadn't crossed his mind until a few days ago.
"I was playing with somebody (Wednesday) and they chipped it in from just off the green," the senior said, "and it kind of brought back a little sore spot."
Tied for first place after two rounds, Lindeman and Sean Romero of Texarkana Pleasant Grove went back to No. 18 for the tiebreaker. With both of their second shots, just off the green, Lindeman's approach left him with a makeable putt until Romero chipped into the cup for the win.
"It's one of those things where at one point I'm going to have to forget it, even though I did think it made me better," said Lindeman, who will play at UMHB next year.
Dane Hankamer, Salado (Fr.) - Finished fourth at the Region IV-3A tournament, shooting a two-day total of 152 to advance to state where he finished tied for 16th (154).
Andrew Paysse, Belton (Fr.) - Shot a two-day total of 154 (75-79) at the District 12-5A tournament to lead the Tigers to the district title.
Colton Perkins, Lampasas (Sr.) - A part of the Badgers' state-qualifying team, the senior shot 160 in Austin after helping Lampasas win the 25-3A tournament and finish second at regionals.
Jake Truss, Gatesville (Sr.) - The McLennan Community College signee ended his career with his fourth regional appearance.